Until yesterday we probably didn't realise how relaxed and 'present' the walk had made us. I know I cannot speak for both of us, and that we each had our own walk, but I would suggest there was a pacing between us and an engagement with the creek that never jarred or shifted into a dissonant gear.
And here we are today, at the end of seven days, looking back upstream at all our encounters and adventures and looking forward to sifting them through over the coming months. I am very much looking forward to Lesley's post tomorrow when facts and stats might be revealed - stay tuned.
|Silk 'party' gaiters for Day Seven|
Today we began at our house in Preston are were joined by Roseanne Bartley and Ilka White. Both women are wonderful artists, working with place and being in space in interesting ways. Also accompanying us today were our daughters, Eliza (Lesley's daughter) and Aphra and Romola (mine).
The weather was balmy today, barely a breath of wind and a perfect blue sky. In fact it was so beautiful that shortly after leaving CERES and the old quarry site we came across a large healthy tiger snake. The snake was stretched out in the grass, off the path on a slight rise at about our waist height. S/he was so relaxed in the sun that it took quite a while before s/he slithered off away from us.
(Is there a way to tell the sex of a snake without touching it?)
|Basking Tiger Snake - spotted by Roseanne|
|Girls heading to CERES with coffee orders. Orthodox Golden Domes before them.|
|Girls at the Velodrome|
Ilka took us to visit 'her' Billabong; a site where she has spent a lot of time and which has been the starting point for some of her beautiful textiles. It was here that Roseanne spotted our second snake for the day. The weather, and perhaps the narrowness of the riparian zone in the urban space meant that we and snakes were more likely to meet. It felt unexpected, especially as we had only seen one other on all our other days. Roseanne has been visiting the creek for 20 years, and today were her first ever snake sitings.
|Roseanne at CERES prior to snake encounters and coffee|
|Ilka in the Billabong|
|Ilka sharing some River Mint with the girls|
|Rushall Station and Jacqui's arrival|
|Roseanne's rubbish with Romy and Rebecca|
|Coming back to the creek from the rubbish|
It was a social day, our last day of walking. The perfect weather and school holidays meant that the creek was abuzz with human activity. It reminded me of the importance of creeks in our imaginations and in our daily lives. The importance of them as a space to care for and enjoy being in, beside and with. Hours and hours of my childhood were spent in the creek near my home in Adelaide - romantically named Second Creek. The shortest way to my playmates house was to duck and weave through the gardens along the creek - always imagining and believing we were fast enough not to be seen by the owners of the properties.
Tomorrow I will thank everyone (via this blog) who has been party to making this walk happen so smoothly and successfully. But in the meantime I would like especially to thank Lesley, who was up for the adventure without a second thought, and then equally especially to our two David's whose week involved driving up and down the Hume with hot dinners, tents and other last minute requests in order for us to float downstream without a hitch. We love you both!
And it was such a great day, I went crazy with the pictures.... bear with them for the treat at the end.
|Aphra, Eliza, Rosie and Ilka|
|Romola collecting, her pockets like a portable vase.|
|Fragrant Saltbush in fruit|
|Rosie and Lesley and the city|
|Dave: Champagne at the ready|
|The view into the Yarra from the Merri|
|Aphra helping Dave|
|At the Confluence, 100km and seven days later.|
|Looking back up the Merri Creek under the Freeway Bridges.|
Tony Birch sent me a poem he wrote after walking with us yesterday.
It seems the right note to end on so here it is:
we were the children
robbed of music
water, air & blood
a barb-wired heart
beats for us