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

Dunedin sunset

Dear Reader,

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.



Avus said...

Taking a camera with you "in case you see something" is different from your intention of actively looking out for something. I find the latter way really sharpens up the perceptions and focuses on the little things you may otherwise easily have overlooked. Thoughts and musings, too, are different.
I think you are enjoying this project, Kay.

Kay said...

Avus- Thank you. It's a project I don't have to try with, it can be effortlessly accommodated into my everyday, normal life, which makes it good all round, really.

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