Showing posts from December, 2010

Both side of the bay.

Port Phillip Bay sits below Melbourne like the head of a badly battered tadpole. The Yarra - the tadpole’s tail - stretches up into the hills to the north. The bay itself is shallow and in its waters hides the ghost of Yarra’s course, from when the world was colder and the sea was lower. The bay is held in the arms of two peninsulas - the Mornington to the east and the Bellarine to the west. Each is visible from the other, and each is different from the other, and in between is the water, constantly shifting but seemingly permanent. But in reality it is a newcomer, a flooded plain from the end of the last ice age. And as the world warms it will grow larger and come knocking on peoples doors, an unwelcome guest and the first foot of a startling new year. Standing on the edge of a great ocean can feel like looking at the edge of the world, the grey seasky and the waves and maybe the curve of the Earth. But the Bay is not this big, it lacks the vast scale of the ocean and you can always s

Rain in a time of drought.

It’s been raining again. This may not strike so people as worthy of comment, but believe me it is. Northern Australia has had lots of rain, more than in any other spring in some places. Victoria has had the wettest spring in more than a decade. It’s raining right now from a strange copper brown sky. 22 mm of rain dripped into our rain gauge last night, and there will be more by morning. The Yarra, normally tea coloured, is running like hot chocolate, heavy with clay. Ducks have to strike off upstream to go straight across, and once it’s plain you have no bread they cruise away from your boat on busy, unseen feet. Conserving energy when it’s clear that there is no food to be had. The trees hang heavy in the mornings, lush with new growth, and some, sheen weighted with water, have given up the ghost and fallen over. Two have bent down to sleep in our area in the last week, driving branches deep into the water soaked soils. After heavy rain the paths are coated with wet tissue leaves, p