Dawn comes like the realisation of youth fading; a gradual awareness that options have begun to diminish. Soon one must step out into the cold. The thermometer registers a single degree — inside the house; condensation on every window has frozen solid; through lightly textured ice the outside world appears as indefinite as last night's dreams. Trees, the shed next door, a line of hills beneath a salmon-tinged sky: all have become vague forms in colour, ill-defined, beautiful, approximating the abstract. I open the kitchen door and step outside to empty the teapot and frost crunches on the verandah beneath my feet, white frost covers the paddock save for dull green patches where the sheep have been lying. A line of footprints connects one such patch with a grazing sheep and I wonder — does grass taste different when it's frozen?
1. All temperatures are in degrees Celsius (centigrade). One degree Celsius is about 34° Fahrenheit.
2. Pp. 141–142 in Langton G. 2000. Mr Explorer Douglas: John Pascoe's New Zealand Classic revised by Graham Langton. Christchurch, New Zealand, Canterbury University Press. 320 pp. ISBN 0-908812-95-7.
1. Evening on the southern Ruahine range, from Pohangina Valley East Road. Almost exactly one year ago.
2. Everything looked like this a few days ago.
3. Winter; leafless poplar, dead pine. No. 3 Line, Pohangina Valley.