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Tekapo through the seasons

In the summer the visitors flock. The bakery is full, the church more so. Cameras flash and the locals hide away. What is left of the grass is dry underfoot and crunchy. The lake is no longer just to look at and not to touch. Smooth and inviting, the watery teal beckons to all those who come within its near vicinity. It is crisp, yet several degrees warmer than usual. The locals creep down in the evenings to their secret spots around the side of the lake. Unbeknown to the masses, these spots are a haven to all those who keep their secret. A rare treasure. The BBQ sizzles. Frantic hands race to the bottom of the chip packet. Dogs shake, and as the sun begins to set, towel ownership is disputed. In summer, the town buzzes.


But then comes April. And with that, a notable change in the air. Visitors are still a many, but perhaps there are one or two less. The evening sky changes colour. The mornings become later and more crisp. The air is still and whispers to the lake, which is now too without movement. Still tempting, but not at all convincing. The days are unpredictable, and this makes the lake moody. Deep blue, as it mourns the loss of those who splashed and bathed in its waters. Cloudy blue, as it remembers this is all part of the seasonal change, and that the swimmers who made it so alive will be back again next summer, jet boats in tow. In Autumn, the town calms.


But this is merely a transition. A slight whisper, a hint at what is yet to come. The main act. A chance for the rabbit population to dig their holes a little deeper as they prepare for the big freeze. For the geese to pack their feathery bags and fly north. Frozen fingers, aching joints and rosy cheeks. All ailments of the weary but contented skiers as they retreat down the winding road after a big day on the slopes. These cooler months are not for the faint hearted, but those who dare brave the elements will be rewarded by Mother Nature at her grandest. The sky turns delightful shades of pink and blue at dusk and the mountain outlines cry out “Look! Look at me.” In winter, the town sparkles.


In August, the air changes again. Life starts to come back, first slowly and then all at once. Armed with cameras, jet boats, and for those of a slightly different nature, feathers. Sunglasses pop up from amongst the roadside sea of lilac as the Lupins once more become a main attraction. An evening meander around the ‘suburbs’ will reveal the sound of relentless sprinklers starting up. They are ready for a long hot summer. The main road becomes busy again, a blur of green and purple differentiated only by the occasional angry SUV. But as the lake comes into view over the top of the hill, road rage is forgotten and holiday mode takes over. In spring, the town awakens.


By Eva Izard

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