Thursday, April 21, 2005

Walk Purua Hills

Having heard Alan Waddell (a delightful sounding gentleman of 90) interviewed on National Radio about his famous website archive of walks I am considering changing the name of my blog to Walk Purua Hills.

This morning, waking at 5.30 and realising after 15 minutes of churning through 'things to do before I leave for Wellington at noon', that I wasn't going back to sleep; I opened my eyes to see the skylight turning grey above me. Idea and action were simultaneous as I leapt out of bed and threw on clothes to go watch the sun rise. I set off up the farm track in the dark, the sky lightening behind me to illuminate various tricky gate latches. Heading up hill I waded through knee high grass sodden with dew. Coming round the slope the sky was beginning to cycle through its morning colours, silhouetting my destination: three trees atop a windswept grassy peak. I call them the Grandfathers, two totora and a taraire, and visit them often.

Dawn is a long time to stand still in a brisk autumn wind but my stillness allowed a hare to come bounding past me and six turkeys to awaken gradually from their roost high in a tree just downhill. I watched the wind pull the mists out of the hills and off the flats up into a grey cloud which hovered over Riponui valley as the sky behind it was gilded with blinding gold light.

Sunrises both demand and defy reproduction or interpretation. I think it is their universality that makes cliches out of all possible descriptions and images. I know that their fast changing beauty is best appreciated by stilling the hand from pen, paint or camera, and just being fully present as each pink and gold moment bleeds into the next. Eventually though, I succumbed to the temptation pull out my little camera, and take this inadequate picture.

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