Part of night’s magic is how it preserves possibilities day annihilates. Those floodlights, barren blare delimiting the asphalt of State Highway One from the formless darkness beyond, might be the sentinels of a robocratic regime. Those bright points shaping a hill from shadow might be the watchfires of a mountain fastness. Those stars one by one choked out in the toxic brume of city-light might be an alien armada, winnowed too slowly by orbital cannons.
This road from Gisborne town to Auckland city is long, and with miles still unspent, I might be going home instead of merely going back.
September gives my garden little growth. The last of the winter oranges lie half-pulped and bleeding into the ochre tiles that tamp the brown earth, prevented even in death from returning to the ground of their brief being. Coarse grasses, thick-bladed and unlovely, overrun the flowerbeds Gran planted when she still lived with us and strength still lived in her. The veggie box my father built with such high green hopes is now a heap of composting greenwaste. Yet every year Ransetsu’s death poem is proved living prophecy, for on the old cherry tree spring is born, blossom by blossom.
The table at the rear of the Auckland High Court judges’ library—dark mahogany and scuffed green leather—is where I do the loose-leaf filing, and spend long lacunae gazing out the window at people passing in the street below.
The sky stretches from one horizon to another in a wall of undifferentiated grey, against which the buildings of the CBD appear in vivid, childlike colour, like toy models set up before an as-yet unpainted backdrop. I have never seen a sky like it. All it wants is a titanic Bob Ross to turn this blank canvas into a masterpiece.