I clear the airport at 0115 local time. It was 39 in Sydney when I left, it’s 11 degrees here. But as I walked towards the car hire lot I am aware of the stillness that seeps into me, a calm that washes through me for no explicable or discernible reason. It’s not the chill – despite being clad only in a T-shirt the low temperature does not feel cool, just fresh. Rather there is something, a very low frequency strum within me that resonates with the place. The moon is up and there is a vibrancy in the air I sense rather than feel. I pause in the quiet dark, under a halo encrusted moon and in the silence found in the streets leading away from the terminal. ‘Land of my birth’ I mutter to myself as I shift the weight of my pack. My helix resonates with a helix here somewhere even though I don’t call it home and expect I never will. I am only here a week, but to walk through the night from the airport with my pack on my back hints at what might be possible one day, and in the meantime sated, albeit briefly, the fantasy of being footloose, freely soaking up the moonlit silence. I am its exclusive audience.
By the time I have pulled to a stop in Timaru nearly two hours later it is five degrees and I am ready for bed. The moon has lit my way, hinting at mountains that loom silver grey in the night sky along my right hand horizon, reminding me of trips in my childhood when we looked out for the reward of seeing those snow clad peaks. And crossing silvery Rakaia and Rangitata rivers, also key land marks in the boyhood travels. It’s a land of stories for me and perhaps that is why I keep finding myself back here, and it’s those foundational chapters that call so softly to me.
Diary 18 January 2014
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