From the cafe in Oriental Bay, the city seems so close you feel as if you can reach out and touch it; touch the tall buildings of the CBD, their glass shining in the morning sun, reflecting clouds and vapour trails, seagulls swooping in front of them, stark white against the glowing brown or green glass.
The hills behind are a piebald of green, curved against the square, straight lines of the city. Gradually the hills are being harvested of their exotic interlopers – pine and macrocarpa – and the hills will return to their original state; replanting has begun, and eventually the wonderful totara, rata and pohutakawa will reign supreme. When fully restored, the city will be backgrounded by a brilliant deep red in the summer, a deep green in the winter, and the birdsong, oh, the birds will sing hallelujah every morning, a true dawn chorus. But as the cheesemakers say, good things take time, and I won’t see it completed in my lifetime. But that doesn’t make me sad. On the contrary, I quite like the thought of the forest growing, reddening, for all the people who come after me.