Northern foliage


In the first few days up here I couldn’t keep my hands off the greenery — had to test out the strange varieties of leaf form, seed pod, fruit and flower. But the grass left my hands red and itching; the pod I broke open released a dozen glass-like hairs into fingers, wrists, even through the weft of my jeans. I became circumspect. Still, I can’t resist these sunlit toi-toi spears, or patting hard young kauri in passing. I’m still amused by opportunistic mangrove seeds, delighted by avocadoorrangespassionfruitfeijoasguavalimes that grow here, without cold to balk at. I wonder if I would become as lush, living in the north.

Evidently not all natives revel in the flora; some is downright dangerous, damp and plastered underfoot. This morning the calm bowl of the bay was disturbed by a vapid droning. Walking up to the shop, we saw the culprit, a woman my age (in her prime, fit and able) poufing leaves off her deck with a leaf blower. A leaf blower. What’s wrong with us moronic consumers? I feel all my vexation at the world’s woes coalescing around the innocuous plastic wind-bag.

Why would someone with two arms, two working legs and a set of abdominal muscles forgo the light and lovely motions of the broom for that soulless and noisy accessory? And then who’s going to remove the leaves from the driveway below, and how?


4 responses to “Northern foliage”

  1. Over the years, I’ve imagined a dozen ways to punish those who ‘blow leaves’ in that particularly infuriating and earth-insulting way. Something like a public stocks where the inflicter of noise would have to sit out in the town common, in the sun and wind and weather, and be jeered at by the public passing, and children who would hurl mud balls and little dogs who would–there is a special place in hell for first, the inventor of such a hateful tool, and second, for all those who use them. xo

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