Aotearoa North Meets South

It feels a world away.

This jagged rock face

the dry, bitter winds

whistling through thorny Rosehip and Mataguri

over tussocks of yellow moss.

Air so cool and fresh in my lungs that it

stings my nostrils and pinkins my cheeks.

 

This place, these shortened sunlight days,

could not be more in contrast

to the sticky heat of the bush.

 

Linen off the line that comes in never quite dry.

Ferns curled as Kora

dripping with condensation.

A constant plume of flying insects following everyone, swarming on the golden beaches.

Sand in my shoes, salt in my hair.

Hot, humid nights, staring at the ceiling, trying not to move.

Early, curtainless mornings with the sun rising into orange hue.

After a seemingly endless day, the sun drops slowly into the blue ocean.

Crumbling clay banks coming alive with glow worms.

The dull ache of tired bones after a long summer.

 

So different now, as I sit amid swathes of blankets and cushions,

curtains half drawn

log burner bellowing dry heat

watching the steam rise from a cup of tea.

I look at the mountains dusted in snow.

The lake, glass-like, reflects that very same sky.

Taranaki

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Crisp, damp air cools the thin skin of my pink cheeks

as I pick my way through the wet ferns and grasses that have grown over the track, rainwater streaked over my grey jeans.
A rich peaty smell rises from decaying wood and leaves,
exposed banks crumbling bits of orange clay and dark black soil that get stuck in clods to the bottom of my boots.
Above me, the white sky is barely visible. The whole path is a tunnel of green; moss covered trees dripping with lichens block out most descending light.
There are slippery rocks that one must take care over when picking across an icy cold stream. The water is clear and steady, having been slowly filtered though a millennium of volcanic rock and spewed from the cracks of the mountain.
Tree roots line the forest floor like a net of fresh shining liquorice, and bright orange bracket fungi cling to the base of some of the more ancient species of tree.
A plethora of birdsong can be heard among the gentle rustle of leaves and flow of the many streams.
On this, the aptly named ‘Enchanted track.’

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