Golden Bay, South Island, New Zealand
Photo by Barbara


The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our thinking.
Thus, we are drifting toward catastrophe beyond conception.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
~ Albert Einstein

Life without playing music is inconceivable for me….I live my daydreams in music.
I see my life in terms of music. If I were not a physicist I would probably be a musician.
~ Albert Einstein


Synchronicities abounded on my trip to New Zealand. I saw the headline when I landed in Aukland after the seemingly endless flight across the Pacific from the US. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor had blown sky high while I was in the air.

I THOUGHT I was in New Zealand just to visit a friend in Wellington and then to tour the South Island for a bit. Now, however, with the news of this disaster in the USSR, the world’s focus was on how much fallout there would be, where the winds were blowing, where radiation would land, and what the ramifications would be. I remember a big question that loomed: “Is it safe to drink the milk?” People in the Northern Hemisphere – especially in Europe – anxiously waited to learn of their fate. They had no control over where, when, or how much radioactive fallout would affect their lives and the lives of future generations.

In addition, I learned that, because the prevailing winds are separate in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere with the doldrums between, little or no radiation from Chernobyl would reach New Zealand. At the time, there were over 400 nuclear power plants in the North and 5 in the South. The Cold War was still very real. Thus, the Southern Hemisphere was looking very inviting.

In fact, New Zealand looked especially inviting because it already had decided to be a nuclear free zone. In spite of pressure from the US, two years earlier the Prime Minister had barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from entering New Zealand waters or using New Zealand ports.

I seriously considered moving to New Zealand. I even contacted a real-estate agent and looked at properties. It was definitely a fork in the road of my life. In the end, I chose to return to a life of familiar ‘nuclear’ family, community, and closeness at home in the US – even with the potential for experiencing radioactive fallout, heaven forbid, should another accident occur someday. At the time, I saw my choice as being a decision about quality of life over quantity of life.

As I drove through the beautiful pastureland and mountains of the South Island, I had the radio on. It was mostly news about the unfolding disaster. There seemed to be an emphasis on the question of whether milk was safe to drink. Paradoxically, every now and then the same commercial would come on. It was of Louis Armstrong singing one of my all time favorite songs: “What a Wonderful World.” As if that wasn’t paradox enough, the commercial was an advertisement for MILK.

How did I happen to arrive in a nuclear-free country on the day after the Chernobyl disaster on my one and only trip to New Zealand?

How did I happen to pick a radio station that repeatedly played one of my favorite songs – What a Wonderful World – on the heels of a lethal nuclear accident?

How did it happen that the song was a commercial for milk when drinking milk was being seen as having potential to be high in radioactive fallout?

How did I happen to encounter double rainbows multiple times when I visited Golden Bay – my favorite place in New Zealand?

Yes, synchronicities abounded on my trip to New Zealand.


Music is life itself. ~ Louis Armstrong


Photo by Barbara
Golden Bay
South Island
New Zealand