* As published in the June issue of Maungaraki Views.
Up and having breakfast as the sunlight seeps over the top of the Rimutakas, streaks along the valley, following the river, and then splashes into Wellington. Painting homes and offices in a soft, orange glow. Here and there, a window catches the light and reflects a tiny sparkle of scarlet straight back into my living room.
A pilot boat on the water also bounces back a sunbeam and the scene is sprinkled with a dozen orange, scarlet and crimson stars just for a few, brief moments, then the Sun heaves itself clear of the horizon, the reflections flutter and fade, and the magic moment melts into memory. Another day has dawned and dappled the Hutt, Kaiwharawhara, Te Aro and the bays in daylight.
We wrap-up warm against the southerly wind slicing over the water past Seatoun and Shelley Bay and work quickly to shape the wood and build the balustrade on the deck.
Clouds billow overhead and the light soon begins to fade on the shortest day. The southern winter solstice.
Tools are stored, woodchips swept away, work shed closed. A match strikes against the box and bright, orange-yellow fingers wrap the kindling in the grate and soon the logs are crackling and snapping in the flames.
Outside, a solitary spark lifts into the darkening sky over the runway and turns in a slow arc towards Auckland. The city lights start springing into life with yellow, orange, red, blue, green and white diamonds dancing across the harbour and another winter day in Aotearoa draws slowly to a close.
Sitting by the window with a glass of Marlborough dry white wine, a slice of rich, dark, fruit cake and a wedge of creamy cheddar cheese is it any wonder the view from ‘the mountain in the north’ never fails to please.
Mulberry Street, Maungaraki