Swallows wings outstretched and the sky grey. A band of light over the dark ranges. The road across the paddocks empty. Day one.
Yesterday, Mike next door drove up on his ride on and mowed the drive – the stalky dock and yarrow, the tangled rye grass. I gave him a thumbs up, yelled out thanks. Bent and lifted clumps of mown grass to put round the crab apple tree.
A blue car pulled up – Kathy from the empty lodge up the road. She climbed out and carried two bags of ripe avocados over to me to give to neighbours. “Washing your hands,” she said. “My sister sent them to me for the season, but now I have no guests.” I put a bag at Mike and Rose’s door, knocked on the yurt’s door and stepped back. When Bridget opened the door, I laid an avocado on the step. We talked a few moments, metres between us.
I walked back my long, tidy driveway, where the early snow had melted, and inside where the house still held the warmth of last night’s fire.
Brian, who’s in my ‘bubble’, arrived with a box of cabbage seedlings. A car had driven off and left them on his step. A card read “For your mind and body,” though we couldn’t decipher the signature. In a time of pandemic, food, and something for our garden, are blessings.
The quality of kindness here, the careful smiles the day before from the supermarket shoppers. I don’t know how the world has been blessed like this, as if we have all seen our own mortality, the night-marches of long, cold, wars, eyes above masks, bare shelves, and felt the tremulous base we have assumed our life upon. Perhaps we have realized our survival comes down to dirt and what it will grow. Earth and kindness.
Later, in a zoom meeting with family, we’ll watch newly four-year-old Lucia blow out her candles, and raggedly sing to her, from Australia, Nelson, Wellington, Oturehua and Queenstown.
And now, the morning glows, the grasses tawny, the mountains blue-grey, the toi tois raised in graceful feathering to a windless sky.