What can you trust when the weather is so changeable?
I waited long, in my light sundress,
Then the airport bus appeared, out of nowhere,
And disgorged a friend in trousers and jersey.
We were happy to be in the same weather together after so long.
Day One wept rain. Wind nearly swept us away
But we clung to each other and to clumps of wet grass
On a headland that jutted into the Hauraki Gulf.
We couldn’t see the gulf, or the sea, but we trusted
They were there, beneath, above, beyond the fog.
We made it to the historic pa site at the ridge end
And sat, sodden, in an old lookout scoop, facing greyness,
Eating wet ciabatta, avocados and post-Christmas ham.
We knew the gulf was out there, somewhere, but today
We couldn’t even hope the Coromandel ranges would appear.
Then – Look! There! What? Whales! There!
Intermittently, unpredictably, blurry whale backs – islands?-
Surfaced through fog, gasped, rested then sounded and disappeared,
Fading back into nowhere, leaving us breathless.
Waiheke? Motuihe? Rakino? We didn’t know which.
Our black parkas Gladwrap clingy, we stumbled carefully back,
Listening to each other breathing on the narrow, slippery track.
Day Two we climbed a cliff on Waiheke and we could see for miles
All the sparkling islands of the gulf and the Coromandel ranges,
Unchanging as paintings, unmysterious as a dentist’s smile.
We panted from the climb. The view was sublime.
There were curving gulls, swooping terns, launches, yachts.
When we sank our scorched skin in the sea at Oneroa Beach
We gasped together, like whales, bemoaned the lack of a breeze
And said how changeable was this summer’s weather.
The next day she disappeared into the maw of the airport bus.
Gone, Vanished, like a stone off a cliff or a fish in a wave
Or like a sudden summer shower, and with a promise to return.
In my warm garden now I watch a butterfly tickle a sunflower’s heart.
and, in the cool shade there’s the unfurling of a moist green fern.