Time of the Season

A Postcard from Alpha Hut

It was only a year since I got back from overseas, and now Thom would be heading north. Henry had a new job down south. This was always the way. Times like this, when we were all in the one place, seemed as irregular and fleeting as an eclipse, and with the end of it approaching we hurried into the hills.

Over beers, we planned and packed, and then for the next couple of days we stomped around the Tararuas. We had grey wet weather for the first day, and we endured it expecting bright sun on the second. All the while we talked about all the things we’d be doing over the next year, what would Thom do in Auckland? Where could Henry going tramping near Oamaru? By the time we got to our destination, Alpha Hut we were soggy and exhausted, and not in the mood to find the place had not even a stick of firewood. Our second day wasn’t much better, and we cut our plans for a long loop out. But even so things were different. That first day had already become something to look back on and remember. How about the eerie mist as we crossed the open tops, or that guy that snored all night at Alpha?

We drove back out of the gorge, listening to Time of the Season on the local radio station. Even by then, the sun hadn’t come out properly, but the air was warm at least. We wound the windows down and we let the smell of the fields fill the car as we headed back to town, where each of us would head off on our own track yet again.