Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Keepsafe angel

It's 5:00pm here, which means that the sun is almost completely set and the dusk is starting to fade. It's also the beginning of the rainy season.  There hasn't been much rain yet, but in the afternoons we are sometimes getting a bit of a drizzle, and most days it is clouding over.

My brain developed its weather pattern recognition software in the deepest darkest Dunedin.  Where the wind comes speeding either up from the Antarctic-chilled Southern Ocean or down from the glaciers of the Southern Alps.  The days are longer (in the summer at least) and the sun is bright and quick to burn pale and sensitive skin like mine.  It doesn't snow much down there (too close to the sea) but at the sight of low dark clouds my brain still wants to prepare for howling winds or biting sleet. 

After I moved to Auckland,  it took me a full year to stop carrying my knee-length woolen coat around with me everywhere, just in case.  Looking out of my window now I can see the clouds that gather every afternoon here.  They look dark and heavy like those windy icy clouds of my childhood, but they don't behave in at all the same way.  They mostly just hang in the air, getting bigger and bigger. They don't march across the sky.  In the early days of aerial warfare I think they used zeppelins - and I imagine that the rain clouds of March in Saigon fill they sky much like a slow-moving zeppelin would.   The spring rainclouds of Southern New Zealand are more like the messerschmitts in comparison.  Noisy and beautiful and swift.

Soon, these zeppelin-like clouds will get too heavy.  And when they do, they will simply drip. They will soak one drop at a time into the dust of the city below.  At this time of the season it is like an anointment* - later I'm sure the storms will have fire in them but now they seem almost peaceful.

I am watching these clouds swelling out the window and even though the air outside is actually heavy and thrilling and still warm and dry, I want to curl in a cosy corner and banish the damp from dark corners.

I turned the lamp on at my desk and noticed again this crystal angel that I hung from the lampshade.  My friend gave it to me when I got my first car, to keep me safe on my travels. It used to hang from my rear-view mirror, and after I sold my car I tucked it into my suitcase to keep me safe on my journey here.  And now it's watching over me in my little room - a keepsafe angel for when the clouds are darkening. 

* I doubt the motorbike riders agree with me on this point!

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