more like a home

September 30, 2012

Pohangina Valley Dawn

Phil hangs out in the kitchen, always in the same place. I only noticed him there last week, hanging off the wall, low down. This morning I stooped to check him out and he stretched a long, thin leg towards me then drew it back. He was sucking the juice out of a small fly.

Perhaps it was a stroke of luck I hadn’t named the black, bristly wild pig who lived in the back paddock after someone had caught him near Shannon. Only the size of a small dog when he first arrived, he grew rapidly and grew friendly just as fast. He’d run laps around the paddock, going hell-for-leather apparently for the sheer fun of it. When I opened my back door he’d come bolting over to fence, squealing and grunting, and I’d go over and scratch him behind the ears; he’d squint his little eyes and stand perfectly still, drooling slightly. Even when he was almost a full-grown boar he loved his scratch.

I came back from an overnight trip to a hut in the Ruahine to find him gone, nothing left except a black bristly tail and a pool of blood in the killing tray. I think it would have been harder if I’d named him, the same way I now can’t sweep Phil away in a bout of weekend cleaning. Phil’s relatives occupy other corners too, and I don’t begrudge them the space. The house seems more like a home when it’s not just mine.

Pete lives in the Pohangina Valley, on the edge of the Ruahine range in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s North Island. His primary blog, Pohanginapete, is about travelling, thinking, mountains and mountaineering, photography, Aotearoa-NZ, natural history, people, a wee bit of politics, life in general and a swag of other stuff. It has lots of photos, too. The Ruins of the Moment is Pete’s photoblog

6 thoughts on “more like a home

  1. leonie wise

    One of my jobs when I was about 10 was to go and feed the piglets at the camp we lived at. There were usually three at a time and the first couple of lots I named. They love willow and would strip the tree above their pen bare up as high as they could reach and they loved having their backs scratched.

    Once I realised where they were ending up, I stopped naming them and just called them one, two and three (but I still scratched their backs and pulled the willow branches down for them to reach)


  2. Linda McGrath

    Thanks for sharing Pete, it’s nice to see a ‘bloke’ blogging. Great photos, looks like you have been to some amazing countries. Oh..& you are just a stones throw away from Oz!

  3. pohanginapete

    Leonie, anyone who’s spent time with pigs outside those terrible factory farms must know what amazing animals they are. I didn’t know of their fondness for willow, though—if I had, I might have treated him to an occasional branch.

    Linda, thanks. I’m lucky to have got to some wonderful places. Only limited time across the ditch, though. I might have to do something about that.

    Maureen, I had begun to think of a name for him, but hadn’t made up my mind. Perhaps it was for the best.


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