I prefer paths worn to those laid out; the blending of grass from centre to edge by the passing of continual feet rivals the shading of Old Masters. Down these paths seed-head and flower brush calves, but don’t impede, because enough of us walk this way, descending with each unique promise. * The southern wind edges the waves moving across the bay; white lines of static flicker and vanish: a jumpy picture of turquoise-blue blotted with shadows from dampened clouds. Amidst the froth and crests of roughening seas, the birds in the distance race to a haven at the north end of Tokerau, where the sands curve behind the rocks marked with Kupe’s net. * The rain comes. It’s too much to stay exposed on the stone altar of a church, or in the circle of a henge. From the sea we must retreat. I look back at the dimpled sand; our footprints already fading. We turn into the gloom of leaf and frond, follow the path of pressed grass shimmering like a stream.
The shag declined to be interviewed, wouldn’t allow a photograph, said she knew nothing about the fish carcasses. “Ask the throttle-and-munch-em sea riders who were here last night.” She didn't have a song, just a certain way of puffing her chest, of being exactly where she was: the rock pools, the purple crabs, the decomposing seaweed, the curve of the bay. A rock higher than the high tide, an easy take off, these were her piper and pilchard. “Off the record, my silence was inevitable considering my original disposition to dive down under the horizon into the quiet.” After a long pause, while still looking out to sea, she said: “It's like this, those carcasses were of fish I knew in the way that you used to know the sky at night.” “Take what you want from that, I don't really care.”