I felt a calm before yesterday's Auckland's storm. I'm not sure the misty, muggy weather I experienced on Wednesday morning in Auckland was a harbinger of yesterday's tragedy, but there was something about the day that was odd.
On Wednesday morning, I had jogged down to Auckland's Wynyard Quarter from my nearby hotel. Right at the end of the wharf, I listened to a homeless person playing an old piano under a disused silo.
It was beautiful, poignant music - occasionally interrupted by a dud note from the badly tuned piano - not the musician. The City Mission has placed the piano there - a cultural quirk in the industrial landscape. From the silo, you couldn't see the top of the Sky Tower, the hanging mist hid it from view.
The water was calm, and that deep green that the sea turns when humans discolour it with industry. The mist and the music combined to create one of those strange experiences you remember. And being so close to the sea, my musical interlude was clammily wrapped in a salty fug. Strange. But then, living so close to the sea, life is full of surprises.
In Northland, we know that twisters can hurtle in from the sea with no warning. It's happened near Whangarei several times. Each time, we were lucky - the damage was to property, not lives. In Auckland yesterday, the elements combined with tragic consequences.
As an island with a changing climate, strange weather is becoming the norm. We feel for our cousins down the road, and offer our aroha and support.