Photo du Jour: Fir
Nightwalking in Port Chalmers, Pt 4
The Dunedin City Council, in its infinite, unquestionable wisdom, ripped the roof from this historic industrial shed in a bullshit asbestos panic and presumably hopes it will disintegrate before they have to make a decision about preserving it. Which fucking sucks, since this is one of, if not the last remaining vintage industrial building in the area, and definitely the last one of any aesthetic merit. Get your shit together, DCC, or at least be honest about lumbering onward with your middle-finger agenda in regard to our much-abused little town.
Port Otago's nasty wizard eyes.
Careys Bay lies around the corner from Port Chalmers, behind a veil of old volcanic stone. It is a pretty little gully that once would have chimed with a legion of native birds, but now mostly buzzes to the sound of incessant powertools, the barking of bored dogs and the industrial declamations of Port Otago. The giant container ships have been muffled for now, but something worse will come along.
Careys Bay at night is more palatable, because the power tools are tucked up in bed and you can overlook the oily little teacup bay and serpentine Victoriana from a quiet cemetery fringed with smoke-scented blue gums. Possums shriek and fuss in the trees alongside roosting Rosellas, both rowdy imports from Australia. An Arbutus, heavily laden with both polychrome fruit and pearly blossoms, shelters the graves. It is a peaceful isolate.
Down by the water, the Black Backs croak lullabies to each other post-breeding season, and shit on the bow of the pilot boat.
Someone went to the trouble of installing this pursy effigy; fixed expression, hi-viz, low inputs, strange posture, alarming moisture content. The vérité is terrifante.
A new fishing wharf lies beyond this ziggurat of containers, a somehow depressing sop to the community that had to submit to still more noise and disruption as the Port expands its activities. Depressing in that it is been covered in furtive slash obsessive groups of people jerking largely undersized fish from the bay every time we've visited, in a metastatic expression of the everything wrong with the facility lurking behind it. It smells of death, already.
I'm not a Star Wars person but that is some Evil Empire shit.
There is something deeply surreal about the high tide overrunning the concrete of the boat ramp around Back Beach under these lurid lights; a blurring of material realities in which the water, supremely unconcerned with infrastructure, subsumes terrestrial limitations, in a small taste of what is to come. I have stood on the northeastern tip of Arnhem Land and watched distant cyclones steer their fluted, lightning-flecked flanks over the blood-warm waters of the Arafura Sea; the feeling is the same, somehow. Ominous, for sure, but not entirely unpleasant.
On some nights, the gulls sit in tight ranks on the jetty rails, scurling loudly. It sounds like they're arguing about something we don't understand. They'll shut up if you shine the torch toward them.
It seems like we might have escaped the horrors of Covid community transmission here in NZ, for now. I am grateful; it feels safe, no thanks to the legion of arseholes and micropeen'd edgelords who flocked out here specifically to break Level 4 lockdown. They're all gone now that small-scale travel is permitted; back to their land of never walking anywhere, complaining about environmentalists and public health measures. Another week of political dithering would have seen these turds blow the curve for us all, so don't believe the accounts of New Zealand's utopian exceptionalism. We just got lucky. Lucky especially that there was a sentient woman in charge of making collective/domestic shit happen, but lucky none the less.
We hope you find ways to fend this clusterfuck off if you're less fortunate geographically; stay home if you can, because that shit does work.