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It has been a vexed week in Dunedin.
We were promised days of fine, still weather.
The sun would be out, it would be warm, and people’s mood would lift in a corresponding manner as the light poured in to our souls and dried the rotting load-bearing timbers that metaphorically, at least, prop up our consciousness.
Well that’s what MetService said, in a roundabout way.
The trouble with such a psychological forecast is its uncertain nature.
Anyone who follows weather forecasting knows anything beyond, at most, three days ahead is pure guess work.
But it wasn’t just MetService.
On the television news there were all sorts of smiling sun signs by our weather outlook for days ahead, and in the Otago Daily Times, which has the most trustworthy forecast of all, the situation was the same.
All up, it gave us that most dangerous of emotions: hope.
But with hope comes a sort of gnawing anxiety that the hoped-for outcome will not eventuate.
We all felt it.
A week of fine days was just too much to hope for.
It couldn’t be.
A cold southerly would unexpectedly blow in, rippling up the coast and buffeting the cliffs by Cargill’s Castle before dropping the ambient temperature at the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, sweeping through Chisholm Links and making golfers curse.
Surely a steady drizzle would hook its tail to Mt Cargill and get stuck over the city for at least two days.
And as the first of our promised warm, fine days approached, those feelings formed a little cloud over each and every home in Dunedin, the tendrils of those clouds joined and they all interlinked and rose in the sky just before dawn.
For the city did not know how to deal with its hope.
The cloud rose from South Dunedin, it gathered in Northeast Valley and flowed down Cumberland St, it was very, very thick in the harbour after it drifted from lonely peninsula farmhouses and homes perched on the Maia hillside.
And the people woke to a city covered in mist, somehow relieved normal service had resumed, perhaps a little disappointed but stoic in the face of meteorological adversity.
It was nothing they weren’t used to.
They showered, and got ready for work.
It seemed a normal day.It seemed a normal day, but it wasn’t.
For a miracle was under way.
Slowly, at first imperceptibly but more apparent with every passing minute, the mist began to burn off, and the skies to slowly clear.
At first the sun could only be seen as a sort of fierce white ball through the haze, but then it began to warm, and we could feel it on our backs and the sky softened and turned turquoise, then a deeper summer blue.
And we basked, each and every one of us.
Yes, the mist retreated only a little way off the coast, where it kept a watch on our city to make sure it did not get carried away, and yes it came back each morning for a while to make sure we remembered who we were.
But every day it gave way to the joy of pre-summer loveliness.
As did Dunedin.
As did Dunedin.