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Saturday, 29 December 2012

There's life in the old year yet

water in December

The old year draws to an end, dribbling out its final weary days as if all its hope has been transferred to the year about to begin. Isn’t it odd that a day at one point on the calendar should feel like it has less intrinsic value than another?

In Australia, these are the lazy days of summer when many people are on holidays, recovering from the frenzied build-up to Christmas and planning the far more casual New Year’s celebrations – beach, barbecue, all night parties and public firework shows. Some of us have more prosaic concerns, like keeping the garden alive as the moisture level of the soil shrinks and the rain is rare.

One of my motifs in living here in the Adelaide Hills is the creek which runs through our neighbourhood. When the creek is stagnant or dry, which is typical in summer, I languish. When the creek is bounding with white-crested enthusiasm after rain in winter, I feel the energy flow through me like laughter. Late December and a creek still flowing, albeit reluctantly, says to me that this year’s life is not over yet. Make every day count.

The poem for this week is a sonnet about another body of water: the Coorong in the south-east of South Australia. (See my blog called Grandy's House for more info.)

What is this grey and silent place, o'ercast
And windswept, lonely, featureless, yet held
In high esteem as nature unsurpassed?
The Coorong, where the sky and water meld.
Our island sails on through the monotone
As subtleties, the myst'ries of the grey
Emerge to fascinate, our senses hone,
And eerie bird calls cease to cause dismay.
See traces of the people who once stayed
In this secluded waterheld domain;
The mess of fishers' gear is being unmade,
While crushed-shell middens ancient dunes retain.
These lonely lands to creatures wild belong.
We leave, but ever hear its siren song.

The Coorong is not always grey but on a cloudy winter's day, as in the poem, its glory is muted.

Until next week…
Claire Belberg

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