awayness, Uncategorized

House of Spong


The view onto Waiheke Island[This is an account of Christmas Day 2013, surreal as it was] … The experience was perfunctory, down to the rusting faux brass fixtures, the undersized everything, the plastic corrugation of the balcony shade. Not that anything so superficial could ruin the view of the island’s density, its jurassic heritage, its millionnaires’ rows upon rows. I was looking North West, 336 degrees toward the mainland, pallid in the distance and smudged with cloud. The island was like a series of small hills rising out of the sea, rock then gnarled beautiful trees with roots that buried themselves in that rock like so many knives left twisted into the side of an ancient carcass. Then bushells of perennial greens and lawns unmanicured and nibbled, perfectly picaresque in the distance.

20131225-223636.jpgIt was Christmas Day, I was an interloper. I’d seen a muslim family on the side of the road whilst driving the hire car back to the House of Spong, one small case between them, the mother readjusting the scarf about her head, the kids shuffling absent mindedly on the narrow pavement. It was like those moments people universally describe, flashed before my eyes in all clarity. Further east, I’d stopped and turned the car around so that she could see the lamb at the side of the road, bonny and barely passed that phase of springing spontaneously into the air. It crossed the road instead, heading away from the pearlescent blue metal giant that had stopped to fawn.20131225-223744.jpgIt was Christmas Day and we were interlopers, enjoying the reverie that day affords; the penultimate day of a holiday, the last full day on an island. Unless they were exported to words, the little things would be forgotten, the narrow pavement, the song birds, the movement of the water out toward the sea, those wonderful gnarly trees, a slow play of light across the hills, the long white splendid clouds, a tree with heavy bows that now rested and grew long upon the hillside. And humanity kept at bay as a distant din, mixed with waves and wind. We laughed out loud when naming the awkwardness for the first time: the House of Spong. But we were grateful.