Thursday, May 07, 2009

Taranaki on the Horizon

For my birthday weekend, we're traveling to Taranaki. The mountain has long been on my list of things to see in New Zealand. Inspired already, I offer you this short story...

...which goes that Pihanga, the beauty of the central plateau, set her heart on red-hot Tongariro, spurning the gentle, zen-like Mt Taranaki. Majestic Ruapehu and sultry Ngauruhoe looked on in wonder as the mighty Mt Taranaki fled west, his sheer bulk carving the Whanganui River and his tears filling it into a raging torrent. He found his way to the coast and finally stopped, in a region which embraces him still and has since been known as Taranaki.

Here, the rhythmic pounding of the ocean soothes his shattered ego, the strong westerly winds clear his mind and clouds provide a thick blanket when he's feeling morose. But sometimes, when the day dawns bright and clear, Mt Taranaki tosses aside his woes and holds his head high, parading his magnificent torso and icy crown, perfectly angled to be seen by Pihanga in the East.

But his displays are for naught, as powerful Tongariro shields Pihanga's views, wrapping her in a cloak of cloud and ice. His fiery eruptions are a warning to Taranaki never to return, though legends say that one day he will, promising a clash of devastating proportions.

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