Tuesday, March 12, 2013


We bought a hammond organ. I don't know if it's the kind of thing you do when you live in Dunedin, or when you have your own house, or if it's just what we do when we live in Dunedin and have our own house. Either way, Vincent has been looking up songs that feature one (Riders on the storm, Whiter shade of pale, When a man loves a woman) that we can cover, and I've been wondering where it should go, and if our children are going to have any friends. That said, I was friends with my sister's feet for a while when I was about five (I'd like to point out that I did have human friends also), and between Vincent, Joe, and me, we have eight friends ready and waiting for our strange little offspring, if needed.

Today has been cold enough for a fire, and Joe and I have spent much of the afternoon competing with each other for the spot closest to the hearth, like a pair of three-year-olds. Joe is very much the kind of dog who can take care of himself, a skill I like to think he picked up on the street, before we knew him. I think of him as a modern-day, canine Artful Dodger. While he is our son, he is also decidedly independent, and should we forget this fact, he is always ready to remind us, by jumping out of bed and running back into the sitting room when we are tucking him in at night, or by staring blankly at us when asked to do something he doesn't want to do. While it's frustrating standing on one side of the road while he stands on the other, dropped lead trailing beside him, ready to run, I do admire this independence.

Did you know that the population of Dunedin is just under 127 000? Nor did I, before we moved here. And in the summer months, when the students and other temporary residents leave, the population hovers close to the mark that separates a city from a town. Until 1900, Dunedin was the most populous city in the country. Our house was built in 1911; our apartment building in Auckland a few years after, during WW1. During those years, one city began to grow and never stopped, while the other watched. I wonder what the people who built each place saw in the futures of their buildings. I wonder if they thought they would still be here, 100 years later, and what would be around them. Who would live in them.

I wonder, when driving down the harbour towards the city, if we will still be here in ten years. I wonder if it will become so much a part of us that we can't leave, or that if we leave it will still be there, in us. It feels good to look ahead.

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