'Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes' – Penny Lane The Beatles 1967
'If I’m cut, I’ll bleed Pacific,sow me up with a number 8 wire, warm hangi stones at my bedside, Manakau harbor lay me down to die' - The Nukes 2002
We are all shaped and formed from the landscapes in which we grow.

6 years ago, Myah (our now 15-year old daughter) won a CD by a Kiwi ukulele band called The Nukes. It’s become one of our family favorites because the lyrics are all about the NZ landscapes we've come to love so much over these past eight years of living here.  In their words, they sing about ‘kiwiana’, the cultural, spiritual and physical landscapes of Aotearoa that formed them into the people they are.

The Beatles did a similar thing in 1967 with their phenomenal ground- breaking double A-side single, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever. This was Lennon and McCartney paying homage to the landscapes of Liverpool from which they were carved. So 2 questions to consider!

I would mostly bleed Severne Road, Acocks Green, Birmingham. The sights, sounds, smells, and people of this landscape are still with me to this day. I may have become many shades and colours over the years since, but the primary colours that determine the outcome, are all things Acocks Green in the 1960’s and 70’s.

The 1960’s was an incredible time to be formed and shaped and all of this era is ‘in my ears and in my eyes’ with the music pouring out of every sensibility!

I look back now in awe and gratitude, that every morning I woke up to the radio playing the latest singles from The Beatles, The Stones,Beach Boys, The Who, Pink Floyd and the Kinks and a myriad, other bands, who minted a mini piece of musical art that has lasted down the decades. I still hear these songs as I walk my local supermarket here in Auckland NZ.

Nine years ago, we came to New Zealand, Aotearoa, (meaning ‘the land of the long white cloud) and I’ve come to deeply appreciate the Maori perspective on this sense of being formed from our landscapes. Indigenous spirituality has a lot to offer a Western worldview that's become disconnected from its own sense of self and the created order.

The concepts of Whakapapa, (our stories, heritage and genealogy) which connect us to our landscapes and the sacred connection between Tangata (people) and whenua ( land), resonate deeply with me and my personal story.

I recently got a band of church mates together for an event I called ‘THE SPIRITUALITY OF MUSIC NIGHT’. The point of the night was to explore the spiritual themes inherent in music and the way the “secret chord that David played and pleased the Lord” strikes deep into our soul. As I said in the intro, I find myself now trying to make sense of the two most powerful forces (outside of family) in my life ... music and my faith.  

One of the songs I sang on this night was the Beatles ‘In My Life’ and I’ll finish with these beautiful words that evoke so much...

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better.
And some have gone, and some remain.

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living.
In my life, I‘ve loved them all.

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