There’s a street light flashing on Aro Street. The intermittent illumination of the pavement gives an eerie feeling, as though some wizard might be lurking behind a lamp-post ready to snuff out the street’s mysterious yellow glow for covert magical affairs. Or, at least, such a scenario is pleasantly easy to imagine walking home alone at 03:49 on an either impressively late Wednesday night or unsanctimoniously early Thursday morning. Certainly not a time for any respectable human activity. Which explains why I'm out.
I often walk home from town alone. And yes, I hear the current reprimanding uproar of the more safety-conscious and general common-sense possessing individual than myself. In fact, of all my blog posts, this is the only activity that I explicitly stress you NEVER try at home. Furthermore, if you ever mention to me that you have something so pointlessly perilous, I will chastise you severely, while for my own welfare remaining daringly blasé. I am, at least, willing to admit my own hypocrisy in such a matter, if not to pay for my own taxi fare.
Disclaimer aside, I quite enjoy being alone in those underappreciated and unfamiliar hours when the sky’s palette is just beginning to show the first inklings of dawn. While the majority of normal folk lie between sheets and explore erratically the fleeting disorder of our subconscious, the world seems to quiver with anticipation of the coming light. This mysterious predawn world and I are relatively unacquainted, but our occasional meetings bring for me a paradoxical mixture of serenity and invigoration. This morning the dusty bushfire hue of the city emerges above the jagged tree line- ponga, pine and pohutukawa through which the Wellington wind whistles its morning fanfare.
Most haunting and pertinent of all are the melodies of the Tui which are punctuated into episodic three note melodies by the noble little birds’ timber clicks. In these very small hours Aro Valley’s resident, cravat wearing choir are already in full song. At what time do the birds start singing, I wonder? They are gossiping about the likely scandal of the day, before mother daybreak has even stretched her slender fingers over the Rimutakas.
Occasionally I like to sit on my window sill and watch the sunrise. From that window sill I have panoramic views of the habour, dotted with the shimmering lights of cars that zoom along the motorway. Once, on a windy day, I left my favourite dress on the window sill to dry. That mischievous wind that torments girls’ dresses, and upturns our umbrellas whisked it away in one great gust, right over the pohutukawa tree. I searched the street and the nearby houses, but my favourite dress had flown away, right over the Cook Strait for all I knew.
This morning the sun rises quickly. There is no treat of skies bathed in splendid peaches or golden glows, but rather an incremental and anticlimactic shift from black to blue. As the occasional whizz of cars along the motorway slows to a steady crawl of commuters, the Tui song is lost amongst the loud collision of detail, noise and hurry of the day. The world awakes and we all return routinely to the riotous chaotic pace that is everyday life. But, I know that only a few hours before that this place was unruffled and magical- as though part of another world. So, if you ever feel overwhelmed by the flurry that is city life, take a walk with a friend, or sit on a hill to watch the sunrise. “What a beautiful place,” Dobby murmured, “What a beautiful place to be with friends.”
|The view from the roof, 14 Essex Street|
|Sunset over my family farm, Taumarunui|
Aro Park at twilight