Update – Tuesday 24 March

So, on Thursday, March 19, Pompeo announces ‘get home or stay out indefinitely’. Then we discover, randomly, that our April 21 Air New Zealand flight is cancelled, without notification. At the same time, Drask is wrangling a clunky, uninformative immigration website, to apply for a 6 month visa extension in case we can’t get out. We are thrown into confusion. Shall we get out before flights are suspended or stay with a ticking visa?

On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the entire country of New Zealand would be “locked down” starting Wednesday morning for a period of at least four weeks. This means no non-essential travel. Grocery stores and medical services will remain open, but that is about it. We still have not been contacted by the airline and can’t arrange travel back on such short notice, so it seems we will be weathering the lockdown here in paradise.

Our cottage front porch

So, tell me — how is it going in your gene pool, how are you coping with our fragile shared world, shrinking and expanding at the same time?  Are you thriving? anyone?

My best coping practice is to get my hands in the dirt. We were wwoofing in Matapouri Bay before now, and I can go on, raving about the soil there- loamy, deep, rich, with an herb layer of nasturtiums, arugula, lambs quarters, lots of ribbed plantain. Thankfully, I have permission to garden here, too.

Perhaps ironically, I’ve been working on a long term art project, a words-and-pictures publication around interconnectedness, like food webs, like flowers and pollinators, like coevolution. Our current moment adds unimaginable depth to the theme. What are your thoughts on interconnectedness? Please share.

Now, I wonder, on return from the lovely, quiet Kerikeri farmers market- how about money? The insides of pockets? Can corona live on hair?

Kitchen in a bamboo grove, another dream come true


Here’s a note I sent to some folks on Tuesday, March 17

Greetings dear folks, Jess here, checking in today to share that Drask and I are feeling very sheltered and cozy at our second artist residency, in a cottage tucked into a magnificent subtropical garden, remote feeling and yet a ten minute walk from a supermarket. We feel very safe here in this art garden haven. The two hectare property has 5 rental cottages, a few artist studios, Tania and Mark’s house and a small restaurant. It is very easy to stay 6 feet away from others- there is hardly anyone around. The cottage next to us is occupied with a 30-something couple and Brian, their food-obsessed pug. I think they return to Auckland today.

We are booked here at Wharepuke (House – Hill) until April 10, at this point. To pronounce, try ‘Far-ah-pook-eh’.  

On Sunday, March 10, we cancelled a bunch of travel to cities for talks that Drask was scheduled to present to tech groups. Instead, he built a presentation on a YouTube live format and yesterday, at the scheduled Wellington meeting time, talked to 8 folks through a ‘google hangout’. So it went great.

For days, I’ve been thinking ‘oh I’ll write tomorrow, when we’ll be more settled’. Today, that kind of thinking seems so naive, so January 2020. Every day the lens shifts.  Our scheduled departure on New Zealand Air flight #NZ10  is scheduled for April 21, Auckland to Honolulu. We are looking at our options- leaving early, getting a visa extension to shelter in place. Drask is waiting for a callback from Auckland Immigration. We will stay in touch. Thanks so much for your caring thoughts, love, Jess