beautiful monsters: Away

July 23, 2004


Iím sitting in the shade of a battered old ngaio tree that is toughing it out on the rocks above Otanerito beach. The two black piwakawaka that followed me all the way to the beach have lost interest now that Iíve stopped flicking bugs in their direction, and hopping around the outline of a boat that someone has made out of driftwood. Under the trees the frost is still crunchy on the grass, but on the beach the sun was so warm that I stripped down to a t-shirt and shorts. A single tiny cloud appeared above the ridge but soon disolved into the blue.

Four people live in this little valley, but Fiona and Doug have just left for town and the others are nowhere to be seen. My accomodation has all the delights of a tramping hut Ė itís peaceful, secluded, cosy and rustic, close to a stream and the bush. A kereru whooshed overhead this morning and a korimako was chiming from the branches of a nearby tree. But this cabin has a bonus that is rare among tramping huts Ė electricity. So I can charge up this laptop and spend all afternoon sitting on the porch in the sun, working on my book. Bliss.

A few minutes walk from the cabin is Faintail falls, a track that a friend of mine helped to build. Under the kanuka trees young kawakawa, titoki and manamana are weaving a bright green cloak for the hills. The falls are gorgeous Ė delicate beads of water strung from the mossy rocks. A few flakes of fuschia bark dangle from a spiderís web. One of my feathered friends has returned to snatch a bug from the air near my feet, reminding me that I havenít eaten lunch yet.


It has just occurred to me that Iíve never been alone in such a remote location. Iím not sure what will happen if I have an allergic reaction or an asthma attack, or if thereís a freak tsunami or if I get attacked by bees... There are bee hives everywhere, and I had to chase half a dozen bees out of the hut after I left the door open. Yes, I am a wimp when it comes to anything that can sting. At certain times of the day the light catches them, bright specks against the dark hills, thousands of bees drifting like particles of dust in the sunlight.


Snow! Snow! There was snow in the night! Wheeeee!


Back in Christchurch now, so I can send this. Gddm itís cold here. Brrrrrrr!! Iím off to buy wooly stockingsÖ


Posted by Fionnaigh at July 23, 2004 10:52 AM