Sky taut, eagle-pinned. Earth bleached dry, tree line stitched at land seams.
Freeze-fried sun-chilled river-etched rock.
Wind-scorched fields ripple over land bones. Mist quivers as morning sketches outlines on sky blue glaze.
Shadowed sheep legs stroll where stippled strokes hint at growth. Long taupe plain. Splayed trees, wind bent. Bulls like boulders held in winds. Seal-snout mountains sniff chiffon clouds. Rocks inked in luminous lichen lurch in stubble.
A road rise, a fall, a road rise, a fall and … a Pantone blue lake. Flat. Edged by sharp stones dice strewn
Again blue. An impossible blue.
I can’t see distance. It stands ahead, tall. Untoned, untinted, undisturbed. What blue is this? A blue loo cleaners dream of. A chemical blue.
Then Aoraki. Mount Cook. Aoraki. Cloud Piercer.
Erect, blue-white tipped, primed for cloud by clouds’ contents. Crisper the closer we come. Meringue peaks. Shattered cheeks. Planes. Serrations.
Faces, squint-eyed, purse-lipped, crow-frowned, nose broke.
And then I see her. A blush giant woman leaning over a ridge, gazing far far far, head propped on her dropping arms.
My mountain is a woman who pre-dates Aoraki, pre-dates Captain Cook… She rests, hugging her peak to herself, warms her bones in sun before her winter cape settles.
And if I remove my hyphen she predates …
Below the sacred peak where none may step, I see her holding. Long being. Tucked and curled in old enchantment wrapped wide in a woven quilt of strata weft, rain gully warp, embroidered with rare stone. First snow glittering her shoulders.
I walk towards them all, towards her, towards Aoraki, towards Cloud Piercer, towards Mount Cook. Towards the gritty dark teeth of the glacier which calves a luminous jade block to dissolve along the line into solid impossible lake-blue.
Glacier’s rotten teeth sunk in old grey bread now cleaned by calving green berg. Chewing rock and spitting grit. Grinding stones, mountain bones. Giants digging, fee-fie-fo-fum…. Does she smile as I think this or is it just a ray of sun?
I look back often as I walk away. A grandmother’s wispy bun of cloud. A hat and muffler. A homespun mountain.
Night. No lights. Flower stars stamp velvet sky unburnt by human fire.
Morning over a glacial floodplain, shimmering blue arteries, airless ice, no bleeding but cracks and splits of salmon scars. Above the mist an unseen avalanche, a thudding crack, distant, cloud-muted, thunder rumble of slipping snow-rock.
We leave at last. Drive back past the lake of cloudy blue. Blank, still, matte, unpainted paper. An eagle tears flesh from possum roadkill, accenting with blood that cold thick old ice blue.
Above, a sliver of pagan day moon ringed by riding towers. Below, a lake to take away all sin and purify. Lake to be what you see. Past and present melted. A left-be blue of ancient ice and crushed snow, chewed glaciers. A deity we worship in silence. A gem lake. Turquoise. Set in mooned mountains which cup blue with long ridged fingers.
It pulls my eye, demanding. I know mountains range, hunched ruffled lions’ manes horizon prowling. Yet this time-taking turquoise, unholy in its pulling pagan purity, is all I see. All else is setting for the simplest natural brooch of melted mountain.
Still, silent under windless skies it tells of power gone, lies basking in its icy dotage, face up, there for all who see and listen heartwise to its colour tale. Epic, heroic, adversaries ground down, it lies at rest and speaks in tongues to the world’s faces reflecting awe.