Tumbleweed at Te Henga

The sand blurs on the dunes with the squall blowing in
A child balances halfway up with arms waving like indecisive scales
Out comes the tumbleweed
This is their time
They are flying and cartwheeling
Careering over the blurring land

First just one, then two more
Rolling at great speed uphill
and along the ridge
Rally drivers but a thousand times more airy and daring

Three more appear – swooping around the sand bowl
tumble dancing on spidery limbs over and over
They are all heading down to the lake
riding the western rollercoaster wind
swerving like wild skiers on a slalom
with no pause or control – taking those corners
At this speed, they’ll make the olympics
but over the brim, the gale hushes
the dancers run out of oomph
thready legs stumble and mire in sand…

That was it for the day folks
Time for a swim
The child runs in, yelling

Image credit: https://tomassobekphotography.co.nz/

Tolkien would have liked this place

Paired impressions in the dark damp earth lend me downhill.
Someone else uses this place but they are not human.
Someone meeker, possibly pronged.
I discovered this spot a while back – camping out.
A secret stream, hiding in forest and flax, quiet and flecked green and gold with river grass –
criss-crossed with black submerged forest flotsam.
Gaze into maps of golden deep, edged by oceans of dark shade.

Twiggy reflections walk down into a wobbly mazy wonderland of inverted roof.
Dragonflies both red and cobalt blue zoom in pairs or hang, wagging up and down.
It’s hard to reach down to the water.
I have to wedge both feet into recessions in the bank and dip one hand to guzzle the cool water, while hanging off a bush with the other. I’m an orangutan!

Having sloshed down as much as I feel like, I can now pause –
pooled by warm sun, gold water and increasingly damp bum.
A single reed curves out over the surface cupping a hollowed out cove.
Watch that floating bit of stick.
It tries to beach itself going against the reed but is batted away and caught in an eddy.
It circles around past my useful bush, back against the mossy bank and my wedged foot then repeats the process, batting that reed back into the eddy and round again.
Four times it does this.
Look closely and the eddy is made up of a series of spinning whirls of water all circling past the curvy reed and backwards round the hollow like a series of juggling balls or spinning moons orbiting – except they lack a planet.

I’ve been so busy watching the tiny emerging threads of water-mills that I missed the fact that my stick has finally managed to escape and vanish.
But here’s another one, trapped in the same cycle, like one of us doomed to keep facing the same dilemmas and responding in the same ineffectual way –
till eventually mere chance lets us spin off and float downstream to the next adventure.