Lazy Luddite Log

6.5.07

Darebin Creek

Last week I went by public transport to visit the Darebin Creek parkland beyond Northcote in the northern suburbs. I spent several sunny afternoons of my childhood there as it was a shortish walk from the home of Nana (my maternal grandmother). It was a nice day and I had been in a mood to return there for a proper explore of those bits of the parkland I had never got to as a kid.

In particular I wanted to find the Silurian sedimentary deposits I knew were there but had never seen. I never encountered any Silurians but seeing those diagonal sedimentary formations and knowing that once they were horizontal was a quietly humbling experience. It is amazing what the passage of geological time can do.

Otherwise I went on a good old wander. Part of my path took me along something the local government calls a 'Healing Walk'. My instant response was to think of this as a wanky appropriation of indigenous traditions but then I remembered how recuperative I personally find walking to be and just decided to go with it. Along the way I observed lots of skinks moving like slinky shadows in the undergrowth (in my mispent childhood we captured skinks at school so I am well attuned to recognising these things). I also saw some tiny fishes in a billabong-like extrusion of the creek. I even had a staring contest with a kookaburra (the bird won).

I had by now swung back from the northern portion of the park to the more familiar southern part and came across a footbridge that took me back with disturbing clarity to hazy days spent wading in that wide shallow part of the creek with cousins playing whatever imaginative games we had devised at the time. Some things had changed (they have reduced wild undergrowth a lot) but other things were exactly as I remembered (or rather generally as I remembered and exactly as I had forgotten). The texture of the stone promintory on which one end of the concrete arch was set was seemingly as it had been then (I am sure I must have grazed limbs on it way back then).

If anyone is looking for a realm of contemplation or adventure consisting of a mix of different kinds of natural surrounds then the Darebin Creek parkland is an excellent site to visit.

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