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day 3: wood

It felt like we were there for a long time, but I can see in retrospect that it was just 3 days. Put proper hiking boots on, thick socks, climb in a 4WD, and stop washing your hair; you go a little bit wild and time expands. There are two pubs in Queenstown, directly across the street from each other. The Empire is the fancy one, you eat in the dining room lined with old oil-paint landscapes. On Friday night, midwinter, the dining room was empty except for our 3 x parmas and 3 x guinness, and the other couple staying at the hotel. They were visiting Tasmania for their anniversary, here’s how they celebrated: a zip-line through the trees, a private tour of some glow-worm caves, a ghost tour in convict ruins, star-watching, 10 hours of driving and the only vegetarian option in the empty dining room of a pub. Why would you spend your anniversary in Queenstown? Because it reminds you to hold on to each-other when the world has forgotten you?

The man who runs the timber yard is 80 years old, and was working that weekend sorting the stacks of huon pine, in as much as these gnarly twists allow themselves to be sorted and stacked. Slices of timber like beautiful beetles. Future wooden boats, coffee tables and smooth gift bowls of wooden apples. The shed was scented and dusty in the volumetric light and I really wanted to buy some of that pine, take it home and put it on a shelf like a wedge of book. Resisted. Outside in the timber yard we walked into the real life recreation of a Ray Arnold painting called The relationship between things rather than the things themselves.

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