Saturday, March 13, 2010

Autumn's Arrival

Yesterday – Anne was out - I was sitting in the lounge at about 4 10 p.m. reading The Parihaka Album. It had been a lovely warm sunny day. I noticed it was clouding over so I got up and closed the French doors.

The Parihaka Album: Lest We Forget is an account not just of the history of Parihaka but a journey of self-discovery. Rachel Buchanan the author did her doctorate on the history but this work led her to seek relationships within the whanau. She interweaves the personal and historical in an intriguing manner. When Geoff Park used the same approach I remember arguing with a professional historian it was a valid style.

Suddenly, the whole house shuddered. A strong Southerly buster had arrived. I could see Dorothy our cat cowering outside the closed doors. As I opened them –she tore inside – all hell seemed to break lose.

A large bough off the oak tree to the south-west had snapped off and landing on our north lawn disintegrated. The lawn was littered with debris. Luckily it missed the house. The garden furniture toppled everywhere. The abutilon and roses lost most of their blossom in that blast.

Our north neighbour had an old high ribbonwood snapped off at the trunk. Again, it’s our good fortune. Mid-winter that tree had kept the midday sun off the house. It’s lost that function. Despite swaying all the tree ferns survived. It was a spectacular sight as the wind whipped them around. There was thunder and lightning. The power stayed on. The Kapiti coast was not so lucky.

The temperature dropped eleven degrees in half-an-hour. There was mayhem in the city. Marsden College lost half the roof of its auditorium. Tugs had to help the inter-islander berth. The police launch had to help yachties on the harbour. Train services were cut with trees on the lines.

25 millimetres of rain was dumped in a few hours. And I’ve been bewailing the lack of rain for the garden.

I realised my uselessness and vulnerability in such circumstances. The bough only missed the large plate glass window. I couldn’t even unplug the computer – the plugs are too low. I did lower the garage roller door. And the heat pump proved a godsend.

This morning the sun’s out on a bedraggled garden. It’s chill though. Autumn has arrived.

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