Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mind bogglingly big

Last weekend we ventured far into the southern depths of Canterbury in search of some r&r. But we also wanted to see the hydro scheme and to visit Mt. Cook. This is MacKenzie country where, even in Spring, the grass is brown and the trees few. The 'brownness' of the MacKenzie is a bit disconcerting at first until you realise that the monotone simply draws attention to the broad sweep of the landscape.

This is HUGE country, where even a road seems little more than a temporary pencil mark on the land. The hills roll ever onward in their brownness eventually to be dwarfed by the towering peaks of the Southern Alps. It makes one feel small; not much bigger (nor significant) than the rabbits that seem to find it all to their liking.  But again, the bigness of the landscape points to another bigness: the bigness of what human beings have achieved in remoulding this landscape for the hydro scheme.

Of course there are the lakes, but they only require a dam to be built and filled with water. More amazing is the extent of the earthworks that have been necessary to reshape the land so that broad canals can gently carry water from one lake to the next. It's a big land which has been levelled and built up to suit man's needs, rather than natures whim. To stand there and ponder the amount of work necessary to sculpt a land in this way just makes the mind boggle.

Part of the canal running from Lake Ohau and, eventually, into Lake Benmore

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