Goodbye stranger


Devonport ferry, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018


Devonport ferry, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018


Ragtag Daily Prompt | goodbye

Saving, and savouring, daylight


Rural landscape, just south of Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

When the boy-child was small and had limitless, mother-draining energy, I loathed daylight saving. I spent those long evenings wrangling the solar-powered monster into bed so I could — finally, finally — stop for the day.

I think overall I still prefer light in the early morning when I’m more alert, but I can’t deny that it’s incredibly pleasant to watch a landscape slowly turn ever more golden while having a beer on the deck with friends.

Not my deck in this case — our views aren’t nearly as spectacular.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | daylight

Lights on at 4pm

… and then the sky turned yellow. Parnell pool and Waitemata Harbour, around 2.30pm. image: Su Leslie 2020

The sky is Auckland has been vaguely hazy for days now, but around two this afternoon, it began to turn bush-fire yellow.

Smoke from the blazes consuming so much of Australia has reached us.

Parnell, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2020

St Stephen’s, Parnell. Image: Su Leslie 2020

View from my office, 5pm. Image: Su Leslie 2020

It’s really hard not to go all apocalyptic right now. And I’m over 2000km of ocean away from the nearest bush fires.

A constant reminder

Rangitoto Island; Auckland’s newest and largest volcano. image: Su Leslie 2019

It’s just over 24 hours since the sudden volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island off New Zealand’s east coast left at least five people dead, 31 injured and eight more missing.

Volcanic activity is weirdly compelling to watch. Visitors have flocked to geologically active places since tourism began, and despite frequent eruptions and a perpetual, slightly toxic, steam cloud, Whakaari/White Island had become a major tourist attraction.

As I walk on a beach studded with the jagged remains of old lava flows, beneath one volcanic cone and within sight of several others, I’m conscious of how much of New Zealand’s topography has been (and continues to be) formed by volcanic activity.

Some volcanic fields, like that on which Auckland lies, tend to have single eruptions on specific sites within the field. Others, like Whakaari and the mountains of the central North Island are polygenetic, erupting multiple times with varying frequency and intensity.

No matter how much our rational brains understand this, yesterday’s tragedy is a somber reminder of how thin the crust we walk on really is.