Now retired after almost 30 years of involvement in her own business in the insurance industry Sylvia has returned to her earlier teaching career as a volunteer teacher of English. She is enjoying life at a different pace and spends her time taming her garden, attending art classes, studying art history and getting to know her small grandchildren.
I see skyscrapers standing silent through leafy trees. A fine old palm standing sentinal with its strong brown ringed trunk almost reaching to the highest point of the multistoreyed office block. For how long has he reigned in this place? His pendulous fronds cascading down towards the clump of broad green leafed trees. This is a beautiful oasis planned by the City's forefathers. But the grating sound of a chainsaw interrupts the quiet peace of this pleasant corner, a sign of the city's endless moving and intention to remove and replace. Sadly not often to restore.
Behind me is a Pohutakawa tree, its grey green leaves reaching outwards. Now that the chainsaw has momentarily stopped I can hear the chatter of fantails and here now I see one darting, ducking and exploring this peaceful nook. Cars are cruising through the roads below me, a traffic warden is at work head down intent on spotting an errant vehicle. The chatter of the fantail is replaced by the foreign language of students or could they be tourists? A chain saw, a car revving.
These are the sounds of the city. Although I love to visit I'm thankful that I live in the peaceful quiet of suburbia where I can see and hear the fantails, the tui's song that wakes me in the morning and the kereru that sits on the telegraph cable above my driveway, then beats his wings in retreat when I interrupt him. This is my home.
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Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)