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Peach Tree

KAUKAU & Rita, September 2023

One spring we planted a peach tree on Maisie’s land in the hills of Aro Valley. Maisie and Jane lovingly pressed it down into the earth with their hands.
        On her walk to work, Maisie would pass a peach tree and collect its fallen peaches. She grew seedlings from their stones; pots of them lining her kitchen and lounge windowsills until they were big enough to plant. 
        So many evenings were spent with Jane and Maisie in that lounge, with the large window looking out to where Lyall Bay meets the ocean. All sky and water. Nights with wine and candles; setting intentions for the future. Dancing looking out at the sea.
         In the last week of summer, Morgan made peach crumble. Slices of fresh peaches caramelised in brown sugar. We ate it warm out of the oven with spoons of vanilla ice cream melting in stoneware bowls.
        I stayed with Maisie at her new home with Frances and Richard. Again high in the hills. This time far out on the road leading from Wainuiomata to the coast. Above their home was a clearing in the scrub of blackberries, pines and clay. The clearing held two bodies of water; a pool and a bath. We swam in the blue of the pool in setting sunlight; an open horizon of sky and pines surrounding us. Then warmed up in the fire bath, tucked into the clay bank.
        On Frances’ first birthday we sat in the small lounge, sun heating up the room through a mosaic of windows that looked out to the ferns and manuka. Confetti filled balloons floated around in the breeze. Dates and biscuits on the table. Moving our glasses of rosé to different corners as Frances moved around the room. When it was dark Frances sat on my knee cuddling and watching her new bear that lit up and played lullabies when you squeezed its hand.

Briana Jamieson
© 2024