Thursday, 9 June 2016
Ginkgo Leaves at Day's Ebb
the skin-like tones on the bole of eucalyptus tree
dusk over Andersons Bay inlet
sun sinks behind Dunedin city
two ducks on a sunset-stained inlet
As part of the 30 Days Wild (a UK nature challenge I'm taking part in from way over on the other side of the world) I took the camera to the inlet just down the road and snapped some shots of a winter early-evening (or late-afternoon, depends whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person, I guess).
Alert to any sign of wildness in the city, I noted leaves plastered to the footpath. They looked like fallen stars. From their shape, I identified one lot as maple. Another group reminded me of ginkgo leaves I'd seen in Japan. They're easy to identify because they look so much like fans. ... I wondered if I was correct in my identification. I wanted to take photos of the leaves, but there was a woman washing her car at the maples and a group of young people playing basketball close to the ginkgo leaves. I feel far too self-conscious to take photos when there are people about. I just know that they'd wonder what the weird woman was doing.
I saw a flock of birds suddenly fly off, looking like the pieces of an exploded umbrella.
A smudgy-faced ginger cat; no doubt waiting for its owners imminent return home from work; greeted me with a single, plaintive mew.
I heard ululating black-backed gulls. Smelt the mud from an inlet laid bare by the low tide. I saw to the right, a pale new moon in a blue patch of sky, and to the left, the sun fast losing its grip on the southern hemisphere.
I stopped to watch two ducks, trailing placid, silver, v-shaped lines in their wake. Such peaceful birds. I stood there a while, gathering in the calm that often falls at day's ebb. (Just writing that last sentence, makes me feel like an 18th century poet. At that moment I wanted to be an 18th century poet. For one second, I was an 18th century poet).
Then, back to being just an ordinary, 21st century, older-middle-aged woman (just how do you describe someone aged somewhere between middle-aged and elderly anyway? Old? Somehow I'm just not ready to describe myself thus. Not yet.) I set off again, along the gravel track which today was full of glinting, moon-shaped puddles. Every so often I had to duck off to the side to let a homeward-bound cyclist go past. It's a popular area for dog owners as well and I passed a few dogs taking their owners for walks.
I'm sure that having the '30 Days Wild' on my mind meant I saw things I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. The old birds-nest in a bare-branched tree, for example, and the roses leaning against a garage wall, pink and staunch and still going strong, despite it being June. And then there was the five native trees along the boundary line below our driveway; splendidly pulling off their cool, winter looks.
Just as I reached home, my friend and neighbour, N. called out. She asked me if I was going to the Regent Book Sale (a regular, iconic Dunedin event) and would I like to go with her tomorrow? At first I said no, as I am going to go in on Saturday morning. Afterwards, I changed my mind, thinking, why not? Surely both the event and myself can handle two visits?
Going wild at a 24-hour Book Sale, sounds just like my cup of tea.