“When you strike water / you strike your own face”
‑ ‘The Rope’ from Vicki Raymond’s Franklin River suite
6.30am: I wake debating with myself about the eco changes of rivers. Somnolence of quiet flow at the curve where I meditate versus the rush of dam flow for our power needs. Here is the captured flow in my tap for morning coffee, the shower heads warm therapy. The Forth flows from the Pelion, over seven dams, under bridges of steel and wood, over limestone, around my toes, past platypus burrow, along grass verges, around trout, over litter and cattle corpse, by power stations, into puddles, into the mouths of small creatures, past village parks, under fog and dew, over round white pebbles, by barely sealed roads, through sewerage pipes, into a wide sandy bay. Quick, quick, slow, a pluck on violin strings. The river is looking confused at the U-turn, escaping into clay banks or eddying about in circles driving the fish crazy in its dance. Will we drink that stir of crazy when it meets our dinner plate as salmon? We are all river, the damp within us, the 60% wetness we drank in bucket loads or stole from the moist sky before it could reach another flow. I can feel fish scales in my skin, toxins in my blood. When I melt, I am water, womb, snow milk, sun stream— a steamy down drift, a polished bone.