Academic journal article Hecate

The River

Academic journal article Hecate

The River

Article excerpt

All that was left afterward was the sound of the river. That and some vague ache and, perhaps, a feeling of wrongness about what had happened. Still, the river had acted as something cleansing.

Back then I was a country girl I lived in a town filled with football values, masculinity and drunkenness. Girls not talking to the boys until after the match, commenting thoughtfully on the game to show you watched. No comment on the netball you played to fill in time before night came. Saturday turned into Saturday night, and alcohol wetted throats, saturating values.

Afterwards, I sat on the banks of the Loddon River, near my local town of Kerang. He was gone, back to his mates. I was alone. Out there, the stars are so bright, that all the alien stories that you've heard come back to you. And there are so many of them and not all are still. As Billy Bragg says, "Can you wish upon space hardware?"

Afterwards, I might have wished upon stars, wishing it hadn't happened like that. It was in Kerang, that I saw my first and only glimpse of the Southern Aurora fanning red fingers across the sky. That is how big the Kerang sky is.

Afterwards, with the swaying looseness of the gums to screen me, I shed my clothes and waded into the river. Even then I stepped gingerly, I had been cut many times on the broken glass that had stuck fast in the mud. My thoughts always turned to Karlie McDonald, a teacher at the turn of the century, 1900's, who had died rescuing her students, who had been dragged into the eddying currents. People talked a lot about the currents, but I had never seen any signs of them. The water regularly siphoned off for the huge channel irrigation system had leached the force out. …

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