'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Water on the Road.

Mirage near Ngatea.
Is it a flood over the road?  Nope - just a phenomenon of New Zealand summers when the air is still and cooler than the road.
When we were little my sister and I would entreat Dad to drive faster to try and 'catch' mirages before they 'dried up'.
We also used to try and get him to go fast and make a big splash through the tiny ford that trickled across the road to one of our picnic spots...  was it Maraetotara,  or Maraekakaho? - one of those small rural districts, I always get them muddled.
Speaking of picnics, I remember once we were picnicking up Rissington way, and a ewe kept moaning in the paddock nearby. Our grandparents must have been there, because Poppa went to see and said it was having trouble lambing.  I never did know if he helped it, but the sound of the poor creature bothered my memory for days.  I was a sensitive soul.
But the best thing I remember was when there was a summer thunderstorm and once, just once, we raced to the edge of the rain, and came through onto the dry road as if we had passed through a curtain or emerged from a waterfall.  That was marvelous!  We peered through the small back window of our Hilman but we had definitely left the dense rain shower behind us, trying to keep up. And there was that thrill knowing that if we stopped, it would catch us up, like some kind of living thing.

Ah happy days.

8 comments:

  1. Happy memories.

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  2. Although you are ostensibly writing about chasing mirages and beating rainstorms, there is a sense of something else in the sub-text - as if these pursuits were simply a metaphor for deeper longings- striving for something else beyond the moment.

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    1. Hi YP... Yes, you can't suppress the romantic in a young girl. How I tried! I remember a very early lesson to Kate, telling her how rain became streams and into the sea it evaporated and the clouds became rain.. Which became..... P.

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    2. But even science is 'magical', Dad.

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    3. YP, I was probably just deeply longing for speed.

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    4. Your dad sounds like a very sensible man. Only idiots get speeding tickets in New Zealand!

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  3. Fata Morgana’s washed out by thunderstorms?

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    1. Looked that up Ben. A lovely name for a mirage. And how interesting that she - Morgana de Fay - has cropped up again. I may adopt her as my new nom de plume.

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