Tuesday, 29 December 2009

From white horses to elephants in 2010

New Year’s eve is a time for reflection on the past year or years, and a time to make plans for the future.
Somehow I have been thinking a lot of white horses in the past few days, even when I was riding an elephant in the Thai jungle earlier today.

(Photo from right to left, Naila, Ablai, I and Mahdi taken today)

I see white horses on the sea from my window here at Patong beach, tossing their heads in a sprightly manner. During the past five years I have seen a lot of footage of the Tsunami striking the shores of India, Maldives, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand and those initial waves became mammoth white horses as they broke. In all the afore mentioned countries except the Maldives, elephants gave warning that the mammoth white horse Tsunamis were approaching. In the Adaman and Nicobar Islands, people followed the elephants into the hills and their lives were saved. A similar story came from Sri Lanka.

Where on earth did this expression ‘white horses’ come from ?
According to the Poseidon myths he had a palace under the sea with an enormous stable filled with white horses who pulled his chariot over the ocean. "White horses" is an old expression referring to the whiite part of a breaking wave.


A view from Park Pass Glacier. Poseidon Peak 7,340 feet on the left, and the two other unnamed peaks,6,897 feet in the centre and 6,720 feet at the far right, that we climbed in February 1967.

Oddly enough, the first mountain I climbed in New Zealnd was Poseidon Peak, 7340 feet. We climbed it at the end of an arduous two week trip in one of New Zealand’s remotest regions, the Olivine Ice Plateau. We were stuck for eight days in Forgotten River during incessant rain, and when it cleared we climbed over Fiery Col, Cow Saddle and up to Park Pass. From there, I saw the mighty white horse, Poseidon Peak standing supreme from the Park Pass Glacier. What a peak to choose for my first climb.
I was with John Armstrong and Robyn Norton, who later married.
Poseidon, like Hinduism’s Vishnu, was also a destroyer. He destroyed buildings, heavily flooded some lands from his powerful seas, and brought a bad drought to others. These Poseidon myths are really history transformed into mythology. Actual events were about one religious group trying to get a hand over another. Has anything changes today ?

So for 2010, I wish the world to move away from Poseidon type conflicts, where the person with the biggest chariots and the strongest white horses wins over the other, and we take the gentleness of the elephant, his measured pace, large ears for listening and steady footsteps. Elephants can also detect disasters before humans can feel them. Let’s learn from the elephant in 2010. Elephants are symbols of good fortune, something the world is lacking today.

I wish you all a very happy New Year.



Mt. Chaos left, and Poseidon Peak right from the Dart River.(Permission sought from naturespic. Hopefully they will agree.

64 comments:

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Hi Bob

Happy New Year. This is a very well thought out blog that has given me a delightful read this New Years Eve; just five hours away before the dawn of 2010 is on me. I'm glad you found it necessary to explain "white horses" for my initial thought was roving wild. It is quite interesting profile you gave on the elephant. I first set my eyes on a live elephant when I visited the Auckland zoo. Would love to experience an elephant ride but the wish is so remote, just wishful thinking on my part. My sister who lives in USA has a large collection of elephants; there are her good-luck charm I suppose. I view them as dust collectors, but not any more now that I have read your blog. She keeps her collection of elephants well polished.

Bob McKerrow said...

Happy New Year to you Paterika. I hope the elephant mentality will prevail throughout 2010 and beyond. Yesterday, my 6 year old boy, sat so calmly pon the head/neck of the elephant as it walked slowly down hill. He felt so safe and I have never seen him so calm around an animal. That says a lot to me. White horses can be deceptive and those swaves, dangerous within seconds.

Have a peaceful 2010 and may God bless you throughout. Bob

Anonymous said...

Интересно написано....но многое остается непонятнымb

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
Happy New Year my friend. I thought of you on our New Years eve here where we gathered around the fire in our backyard with a few fine friends and raised a wee dram in your honour.
It will be an interesting year no doubt, here in New Zealand I firmly believe Mr. Key and National will show their true hand, making the inevitable gap between the haves and have nots even wider, and in the shadow of that debate will continue the assualt upon our wild places. The fight is coming.
And God help Obama, now firmly blamed for the messes he did not make, the empire crumbling as China flexes her growing muscles.
Its almost depressing to look at the big picture, which is why I get so much inspiration and hope from places like yours, stories of real lives and actions that result in real change and even a few victories. Perhaps it really is small steps leading to big places.
So carry on sir, and thank you. Kia kaha.
Cheers,
Robb

Bob McKerrow said...

Kia Ora Robb

Thanks for raising a glass to me on New Year's eve.

It's the small steps, or the small victories that are important, or in the case of the elephant, the large but slow and steady steps that count. It's the plugging away thaqt wins the day, Robb. We all need to keep a close eye on Keys and gang. He san be checked and thrown out if required. Bob

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Thanks anonymous for your unwanted comments.

Marja said...

Happy New Year Bob. Interesting about the white horses. I always learn something when I come here in many ways You are a man of wisdom.
WHat a great pictures Must be quite shaky to ride an elephant but also exciting. My mum adores elephants She has a huge collection of them and I always look out for them for her.
I wish you all the best and may all your wishes come true in 2010
Aroha Marja

Bob McKerrow said...

Happy New Year Marja!

Good that you are back on line. Elephants pass on wisdom, and we who think we are clever, learn much from animals.

Best wishes for 2010.

Bob

Anette said...

Hi Bob,
I hope you don't mind me making a comment on your blog that I stumbled across (a friend of a friend of a friends blog) as I was watching Tv and web-surfing. What a great blog and so very cool to notice that there are truly good and amazing people like you all over the world. As I am Swedish it was esp. fun to read about your thoughts on the wild white horses, elephant wisdom and your Poseidon Peak Adventures. Also liked the article on Denis Glover. Good luck in your endevours and I hope you have a spectacular 2010.
God Bless,
Anette

Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Anette

Happy New year to you and thanks for posting your comments. Reader feedback is very helpful as insoires me to keep plugging on.

Elephants, Poseidon, white horses will all figure in 2010 somewhere, but give me elephants any day.

I have many friends and colleagues from Sweden and tghere is much I admire about your culture.

Take care and let's both have a wonderful 2010.

Bob

Donald said...

Bob, I love this post full of wisdom - not only yours but inherent in other species. Oh that we could leave our egos behind more often and "hear" like the elephant!.

Cheers

Donald

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