The sounds of this place. Really, the birds. And so much green. The farm land is so beautiful—though it has taken over what was once prairie. Today, we drove north from Auckland toward the northwest coast and the great Kauri trees of the Waipoua forest. These trees can grow for 6,000 years.
SIX THOUSAND YEARS. We live for eighty. Think about that for just one moment: these trees are still getting their second bark in the time it takes to finish up a full human lifetime. Of course the wood is amazingly beautiful, smooth as hell with faint thin rings. So early island settlers cut many of them down; there's like a tenth of them left.
And you know, should only take about 2.5k years for them to grow back. TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND YEARS. Like, if we started growing them back when ancient Greece was rocking, they'd be looking pretty good now. America is only 250 years old. The gravity of what is gone when one of these trees is milled... I just want to burst from it.
So, around the Kauris grow Manukas (tea tree) and these fantastic giant tree ferns, both black and silver. And in all of these trees are so many birds, I just can't even. I took two terrible little movies, one on a hillside behind the cabins we're staying in, and one of just a single Christmas tree (so named because they bloom big red round ornament-shaped clusters in December). The Tui might be my new favorite bird. It whistles like a person.
We will be here without any internet access for four days. I will write up a note each day and create a set of photos. I'll post them all when I get back to a connection.
There are supposed to be kiwis around here, but they are nocturnal and it's quite dark and forboding out in the black bush. Though it's after ten pm and pitch dark, I can still hear birds: whistles, shrieks, hysterical whoops—I'll have to ask Stan, our local guide, in the morning what I'm hearing.
I saw Orion while walking back to my cabin from dinner. He was disconcertingly high in the sky. I'll need help finding the southern cross tomorrow.