AN A-Z OF MY LIFE ON THE BELLINGER RIVER.
LOOKING NORTH TO THE BELLINGER RIVER MOUTH FROM THE THIRD HEADLAND TO THE SOUTH. THE OCEAN IS THE PACIFIC OCEAN.
I’m taking a cruise through the alphabet and on our Northern Rivers and Ocean. Beginning with AQUA – WATER.
THE YAAN : We Bloggers have completed one round of the alphabet and are beginning again with the letter A.
Frizztext, our daring leader, has suggested that a story accompany the photograph for each letter. As for me, I begin with one of my 250 word YAANS.
Most of the time, I live here on the Bellinger River. It’s the Anchor point of my life. Sometimes, when I go elsewhere for a time, I can feel the anchors caught on the Bellinger and bringing me back again. I am an Estuarine woman. I thrive on the edge of the land where the rivers enter oceans. I thrive on saltwater and the deep green silences of the South Arm of the Bellinger. It rains a lot here and mists rise. WE flood and flourish. Fruit grows wild and pumpkin vines spread untended across the paddocks. The mould grows some years and sandflies bite. Life on the River.
We have two rivers that meet the Sea in Urunga. Urunga is known as the Little Town that Time Forgot. The word is Aboriginal – said to mean LONG WHITE SANDS. Upriver is Bellingen and the 3 major valleys – Kalang, Thora and Gleniffer and way past them are the Mountains and Dorrigo. One road runs through it all – the WATERFALL WAY.
There. That’s enough of an intro and I have covered it before in ON THE BENCH .
AQUA – LOOKING NORTH FROM 3RD HEADLAND TO THE MOUTH OF THE BELLINGER.
AQUA – THE FRESHWATER OF THE PROMISED LAND AT GLENIFFER.
JUST TO BEGIN THE A-Z JOURNEY ON THE RIVERS, HERE ARE A FEW THINGS FROM OTHERS: 2 POEMS OF THE BELLINGER. ONE MAP AND ONE SONG.
Next thing, I wake up in a swaying bunk,
as though on board a clipper
lying in the sea,
and it’s the train, that booms and cracks,
it tears the wind apart.
Now the man’s gone
who had the bunk below me. I swing out,
cover his bed and rattle up the sash –
there’s sunlight rotating
off the drab carpet. And the water sways
solidly in its silver basin, so cold
it joins together through my hand.
I see from where I’m bent
one of those bright crockery days
that belong to so much I remember.
The train’s shadow, like a birds,
flees on the blue and silver paddocks,
over fences that look split from stone,
and banks of fern,
a red clay bank, full of roots,
over a dark creek, with logs and leaves suspended,
and blackened tree trunks.
Down these slopes move, as a nude descends a staircase,
slender white gum trees,
and now the country bursts open on the sea –
across a calico beach, unfurling;
strewn with flakes of light
that make the whole compartment whirl.
Shuttering shadows. I rise into the mirror
rested. I’ll leave my hair
ruffled a bit that way – fold the pyjamas,
stow the book and wash bag. Everything done,
press down the latches into the case,
that for twelve months I’ve watched standing out
of a morning, above the wardrobe
in a furnished room.
RAILWAY BRIDGE ACROSS THE BELLINGER AT REPTON.
A Day at Bellingen
I come rowing back on the mauve creek, and there’s a
among the shabby trees,
above the scratchy swamp oaks
and through the wrecked houses of the paperbarks;
a half moon
drifting up beside me like a jelly fish.
Now the reflected water becomes, momentarily, white—
have paused, held in their hailing
and the long water is a dove-grey rippled sand.
A dark bird hurries
low in a straight line silently overhead.
The navy-blue air, with faint underlighting;
Has gauze veil hung up within it, or a moist fresh
I land in the bottom of an empty paddock,
at a dark palisade
(Gray 1998, 126)
BELLINGER RIVER IN FLOOD AT BELLINGEN.