Hawke’s Bay Summer

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You don’t see much of summer in Wellington. Not really. Not like you do in other parts of the country. Not like you do in Hawke’s Bay.

In Hastings, summer nights are big-skied and often stroked with vibrant colours that you almost can’t believe in. The air is still and warm, the heat of the day still rising off the ground. Birds and insects sing. The moths start coming out. The air is filled with the smell of toasted grass. When I breathe it in, it’s the smell of home.

Here you can feel the potential of lazy adventure. The days stretch long and aimless. The sun is aggressive, burning into the wood of the verandah so it hurts to walk across barefoot. But the air is so dry. Rows of bright green vine leaves cross the sandy brown hills.

Towards the end of summer that toasted grass smell mixes with ripened grapes, ready to pop their skins as they’re harvested to make wine. The skies are so big, blushing into the evenings. The Heretaunga Plains are surrounded by slow-rolling hills.

Wellington this time of year is moody, where Hawke’s Bay is bright. I look forward to that still, quiet air. Driving down long wide flat streets, a trickle of jazz on the car stereo. Homegrown tomatoes and beans. And after dark, on clear nights, a sky full to bursting with stars.

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