The hills around, the harbour below
by little red pen
On the day that my nephew, the Squirrel, came home from the hospital, we came back together as a family. I’d spent a lot of time in the hospital, magical time, and we were glad to re-connect as a four.
The boys took some persuading to get out of the house, which is a polite way of describing it — actually we had to forklift the Cat off the sofa and break up innumerable squalls and squabbles and promise chocolate AND soccer — but we got there, out of the house and into the car and up the hill. Then we had a steep, calf-burning hike up a track, with the Rabbit on Ian’s shoulders and the Cat trailing behind, the city opening up behind us and the long dirt road in front.
I’ve done this walk several times before, but never with my family, and I thought I’d taken the wrong route most of the way — something about the angles and the gates and the views felt unfamiliar, so it was a surprise to get to the top and see the same electricity and phone towers, such a surprise that I thought they might be a double, a copy of the better-known set somewhere further along the hill. The track through the manuka seemed different too, more overgrown perhaps, with the shrubs forming a dense, woody tunnel for us to hurtle along. But then we got to the fence and the trees and this view, and it was all right there before us.
Some days this city is so beautiful it brings me to a standstill. It’s all just there, the hills, the water, the light. And we played then, around the sheep shit and the old stones and the long view. It felt like a blessing, that day, to be together and here. It felt like we knew our place.