On my early morning walk around Lake Taupo I stopped to take a photograph of a shadow of large pineapple-shaped palm tree on the grass. At first glance it was a cliche, but what took my attention was that at 9.30am (okay it wasn’t that early) the shade lay like a benediction on the brown fried grass.
I thought of all the other scenes of shade provided by trees that I’ve seen on this trip: the dark pine grove by the sea at Hicks Bay full of the shapes of sheep sheltering from the blazing midday sun. The young oaklike tree at the back of the motel in Tokoroa – all day four bulls moved in and out of the shade it provided. And this morning walking into Taupo township by the lake two trees provided a tablecloth of shade in the parched grass for a collection of ducks, seagulls and a family picnicking.
It’s a wonderful summer, or a terrible one if you are a farmer – thank goodness for the deep roots of trees.