One of the loveliest times of the day, out here on Te Muna Road, is late evening, just before the black night falls over the valley. I often go out and put the cat to bed about this hour, between eight and nine, and just stand still to listen to the noises of the night. Across the other side of the valley, down by the river, the sheep and lambs are baaing as if in panic that they won’t find each other for the night. Down by our barn, in the pine trees, a morepork (ruru) chants. That haunting call – “morepork, morepork” – to me is actually one of the most comforting native bird calls in this land, though to others it symbolises imminent death. That superstition is not confined to New Zealand – I remember reading, in my youth, a Canadian book called “I Heard The Owl Call My Name”, about someone who had cheated death. Well, the superstition can’t be wrong. In nature, creatures dies every day, and others are created to take their place.
The wind has dropped, the air is still, the plants have switched to breathing oxygen – it’s a treat to just sit on the verandah and meditate, looking down over our property at the night sky. This was yesterday evening’s painting, taken at twenty past eight. It’s a good world.