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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
Just a quiet morning and reflection.

Submitted: April 01, 2017

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Submitted: April 01, 2017



First thing, I always look outside as part of my morning ritual and today the stars were winking at me. Oh yes, I do take it personally! The Southern Cross was almost straight above and it wasn’t too cold, but still, I lit the fire because it is a cheap way of boosting the hot water, and besides there’s nothing like being cosy.

While I chomped on my breakfast and swigged a mug of coffee, I read yesterday’s newspaper. I’m not in the least concerned that the news is a day old, I pick out what interests me. I seldom read the front page because usually the sensations are over the radio and on television anyway. But this time there were a couple of young men vaporing. Bloody silly if you ask me! They were blowing enough steam to power a turbine, but apparently it’s now legal to take nicotine that way. Back in the day my father used Blackleaf 40 to kill insects! It was quite lethal, and y’know it was nicotine based.

. Still on the front page a man was released after ten months in prison for rape because a thirteen year old girl admitted she made up the story.

. Page two: Scored six out of ten on the trivia quiz, I’m not into bands and their members!

. The column of news in brief was random and local.

. Always look at Tremain’s cartoon, this time satire about the government and hiding secrets.

. One hundred years ago a young farmer went to fight on the Somme and his parents discovered his post and wire fences had been stolen as well as his modest hut and contents.

. World news: Cyclone damage in Australia, Trump signs off dismantling Obamas efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses, Theresa May signs letter of divorce, French police shoot Chinese national.

. ‘This day in history’: 240 BC Haley’s comet first seen, 1867 America buys Alaska from Russia, 1959 Dali Lama flees China, 1972 Direct Rule by Westminster over Northern Ireland.

. Opinion: One guy thinks Putin’s days are numbered, Joe Bennet’s story on ‘if a dog attacks’ entertained.

. David Shearer’s name was among the lesser headlines. A Kiwi bloke, leader of UN’s mission in the South Sudan where millions are displaced by war and more are dying of starvation.

. Peanuts and Hobbes always make me smile, and sometimes think! And Zits? Zits is a reflection of teenage boys. After the world news, they settle me.

. Finally, an appropriate word for the obituaries. Didn’t know anyone, but the mother of a colleague from way back will be buried today.

It was still dark, so I spilt some of the sugar water, missing the jar that I always leave for the bellbirds and tuis. The grass was damp with dew, a mental note that it will take a while to dry and I do want to mow it later. The starlings were murmuring in the eucalyptus trees. How do they know when to start and stop chirping at the same time? How do they know where to fly off to to feed? Instead of in clouds they fly off in twos and threes and in different directions.

The paradise ducks don’t sleep much, they honk most of the night, but in the morning they honk loudly as they take off in pairs. They mate for life, the one with the white head is the male. They circle to gain height and then head off to some farmer’s pasture where they steal grass and foul the rest, which makes farm animals turn up their noses.

The road is sealed, and there is no traffic, my old crocs are silent so I heard the bellowing of the bulls on the other side of the river. The increasing light allowed me to spot the bob tail of a few rabbits as they loped off in fear that I might be armed. The light was an unusual orange as I stood at the gate of the gravel pit. Below, the river and across, the hills clad in pine trees. A second crop, the first I was in charge of and later of the harvesting. The orange sky gave the trees a different hue.

As I turned for home, the sunrise was at my back and suddenly I became aware that I was bathed in bright red light. Some of the poplars were just turning golden and the red light on them made for a stunning colour variation. I turned to watch the vermillion clouds, layers of them. Quite quickly though the red lightened, and as I passed the apple tree its green fruit looked to be ripe.

The stretch of road is only about a quarter of a mile and there are two apple trees and two cherry plums, one of them with purple leaves. They grow there because the forestry boys tossed the core or stone out as they passed by in the gang truck travelling to or from work. I admired the trees persistence, a tribute, because they have forced their way through thick cocksfoot grass, which is even a challenge for radiata pine!

The rowans had a good crop of berries. Not the rowan known in Britain but the Chinese one, hupehensis, it has pink berries blackbirds leave until they become soft, or there’s nothing better to eat. The berries temporarily took on a different lustre as the orange sky began to yellow. Soon the tree will dress itself in full autumn colour often as vibrant as that vermillion sky was. But not yet.

There were a few birch bolete mushrooms, two of them, large and not yet infested with scarfly larvae, so I took them for lunch. Mags’ day in town so I will have a fry-up. A little butter, some garlic, coconut milk and the mushrooms on a slice of toast. Nothing like slumming it.

A morning like that, you have to be grateful and content. I own nothing flash, an old 1984 ute does me, and I can’t wallow in a bathtub of money! Just shows, you don’t really need much in life. Then again, there’s cause for concern. The bickering of Brexit, the stability of the not too United States of America, the revolution against Putin and his regime, the lack of power of the UN to simply deliver food, the changing face of the climate. Can’t it be simple? Are the egos too big or is big money’s voice too loud? Will sanity ever prevail?

My father always said that Stanley Holloway was right on, ‘It’ll all the same, just the same, a hundred years from now!’ I’m not so certain.

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