Map for the Heart: Ida Valley essays by Jillian Sullivan (Otago University Press, 2020), 280pp., $35
The last time I visited the Ida Valley in Central Otago I stopped on the road beside the Idaburn, the river that cuts diagonally across the plains between mountain ranges. The sun was slung low in the sky and the moon was already rising, as if caught in some cosmic game of chase across the heavens. It would soon be dark, and I still had an hour’s drive to where I wanted to be.
I watched a hawk slice the thick evening air as water flowed over river-smooth stones, its dark shape flicking over sheep scattered across brown grass. Magpies sat upright in trees, turning their backs to the sun to catch the last of the warmth. As I looked at these creatures that had made a home here, among the tussock and in the shadows of hills, I had the sudden desire to stay just where I was. There was something there in that limitless landscape that beckoned me to put down roots. [Read more…]