Wanaka Lake Front Summer
A warm breeze passes over me as I cruise down the hill, the wind catches my sweat and instantly cools me. I feel the familiar canopy standing strong above me, protecting me from the heat. Long solid limbs with vibrant, green leaves project a dappled glow onto the pavement before me, I play in the flickering light, hopping and jibbing from the kerb avoiding sticks and stones. I whizz through the trees. I can see the light getting closer where the tree line is intercepted by short, brown grass. I burst out into the bright atmosphere and a hot dry wave of heat hits me making be squint, my eyes adjust, I dodge pedestrians and swerve onto the grass, the summer months have left it deprived of moisture, the sight instantly reminds me of the cracks on my skin, dry, rough and chapped, the visible call for moisture leaves a thirst in the back of my throat. Past the big poplar trees, I continue, as I get closer to town I notice more people are scattered, each seeking refreshment from the harsh heat, drawn towards the crowded shores of the lake like ants to a honeycomb. I feel excitement brewing inside me, almost tasting the sweet summer air. I increase my pedal strokes and gather speed to clear the speed bumps, I fly smoothly over the bumps, then pedal hard again until the next one, repeating the same hopping motion. I’m now amongst the main part of town, shops and cafes line the streets each with a crowd of people at the door, I enter a tube of scents, music and chatter surround me, tan bodies in bikinis and swimmers sift through the town with light hearts and happy faces. I cruise into the carpark and park my bike on the lake front, the water is filled with splashes and laughter, I tear off my clothes, run over the hot pebbles and dive into the water, I feel every pore tighten as my body is immersed in the cold water, feeling fresh and tingly as I splash about. A warm feeling grows inside me, I’m surrounded by a clean clear body of water fed by the hills. This is my home.
I watch my legs hit the wet pavement in a repetitive pattern, like a heartbeat, the rhythm is calming; I’m snapped out of my temporary meditation as the cold air snags my throat and a painful cough is triggered. I shiver and slump further into my jacket, stretching my sleeves further over my hands, and pulling my hood over my ears, trying to escape. The snow capped mountains against a glassy lake make up for the numbing cold, attracting hoards of photographers each trying to get the perfect shot. I make my way past the small crowd and into town, leafless trees stand still, in the sterile air. I wander through the quiet town, people seem to disappear as they see me, melting into the warmth of shops and small buildings. I run my fingers over the brick plaid wall on my right, feeling the bumps and the uneven surface against my tender fingertips, cold radiates through me. A depressing fog sits above the town, trapping smoke, like me, in this small isolated town.