Creeksong

30 April 1992

I’ve been here for five months and I haven’t learned much. Just a few things. Like: if the fire has been the process of my transformation, the creek has been the substance of it. Does that make any sense? Since I settled in here, I have felt the source of my inspiration, my strength and my healing, resides in this little creek. Daily I experience its rejuvenating qualities. And so, when the rains came again last week, unbidden and unexpected and it was returned to life—like a gift—I was overjoyed.

I feel blessed, pardoned, forgiven. . .

I am getting a second chance to participate in its life, its transformation.

Creeksong

Here’s an extract from my journal:

My creek! It’s a miracle!

One day, dry creek, sandy and dead. No sign of life. Suddenly it’s alive: tiny fish nibble my hip. Laughing, I spill my morning cup of tea into the rushing stream. A water goanna lumbers by on the bank, ignoring me. The birds are rapturous, celebrating.

To live beside a creek it’s microcosm of everything, seen and unseen. It’s habitat and drinking place. Wallabies drink at sunset, leaving fine filigree of paw prints in the soft earth. Frogs launch cadence competitions. Waterweeds astonish with new fluorescence. Wherever did they come from? Wherever do they go in the Dry?

Creek is celebration, joy, exuberance Neck-deep  in clear water, I dream for hours. Canopy of carallia, melaleuca, lophostemon, pandanus protects me, admits shards of light, like diamonds, glancing off sharp fronds.

Fire-blackened pandanus spirals from sandy banks, bending down to creek, bending to look at me, my house. I,  speechless with delight, need nothing more. Have water, birdsong, peace.

And all around life bursting forth.

Upstream, spring contributes to creek, just above footbridge, meeting muddy water rushing down the firebreak. By the time it’s here, clear again, singing past me.

Took many months to learn what community means by creek. What creek means to community. Caught only a whisper. It’s children’s playground. Resting place. Everyone here has a favourite spot. For most, “Deep Spot” downstream, a hundred metres.

It’s source of life, measures land health, our aquifer. We drink it downstream, fear for its quality from upstream clearing. Women have giardia already. We fear that.

Creek is a landmark, shared symbol of our common purpose. Runs through common and private land, boundary between sacred and profane. Creek is sacred, birthing place, protection. Creek is shelter, food. . .

It’s life.

It’s surrender. When fire rages I immerse in creek. Dig in creekbed. Tunnel into creekbank. Deepening, I become creek.

I am coterminous with creektime. Creekcells dance in mine, reciprocating.

Creek is source, lineage, flowing into future.

Creek is hope.

About Wendy

Wendy Sarkissian is an author, speaker and planner. She lives in an eco-village in rural Australia. Her interests are in environmental ethics, community engagement, social planning and caring for Nature. She holds a PhD in environmental ethics.
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