April 16 2011: Day no 107 of 2011 : Paint me a picture of the landscape.

Paint me a picture of the landscape.

Dance me the dance of the waves.

Sing me of the legends of the river.

Tell me the story of the sky.


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Paint me a picture of the landscape.

The picture above is taken up at CAROOL on the Tweed River. I lived in that landscape from 2001-2009. High on the Hills with a view to the Coral Sea.

Now, I’m back on the Bellinger River. What picture can I paint of this landscape before I go to images ? From where I am sitting. I am on the river flats. The world is green after a lot of rain over the least few years. The country is flat here but behind me are the hills and then the curving mountain range of Don Dorrigo. To the east is about a half kilometre of flat before the Bellinger River. There are paddocks and trees and patches of  sub tropical  vegetation. Its not far on to the Pacific Ocean.  A few kilometres is all.


Dance me the dance of the waves.

Close by we have the Bellinger River, the Pacific Ocean and then the creeks of the valleys and the waterfalls of Waterfall Way. I am a Woman of the Shallow Waves. Not a deep diver at all. I like to play in the shallows. I like  surging small swells of the river boats. I used to take a boat out into the middle of the river to fish. Tie the line about my toe. Lie down with pillows and a book and rock on small waves. My father and mother were beach walkers. My father walked way out along the footbridge from Urunga to Hungry Head and back. Then swam in the small waves of the Sea Lido. Most days, he did that.

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Sing me of the legends of the river.

I don’t know the legends of my own river. I know my own tales of the river. I know my  family’s tales and some of the white fellas stories. I don’t know the other legends at all.

I have recently read CROSSING THE BAR, the new book by the Pegums of the Pilothouse in Urunga and I am writing an historical fictionette in LETTERS IN THE SAND. That’s a slow effort as I try to determine the plot, the characters and the theme. Its set at URUNGA, in 1911 ( for now) and its based on snippets from the NLA HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS ONLINE. 

When it comes to the legends of the river, I know of the massacre where the tribe was forced off the Dorrigo Cliffs up above Buffer Creek. Just a hint is all I know. And I have read of poisonings in the Camp which drove the people out and down to Burnt Bridge at Kempsey.

I have heard of the old Jewfish who lives in the Jewie Hole between Brigalow and Gundamain. But I don’t know very much at all.


aaspadrawings 001DRAWING BY CLINTON KELLY OF URUNGA when he was in Year 2.

One of my own favourite legends is our Year 2 Excursion round to the Sailing Club when I had the parents lined up with oysters and damper and fishing for the little ones. The kids thought they were going on another normal excursion and were dragging their feet till they neared the water and saw the tent set up and a fire burning with billy tea boiling on it.

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Tell me the story of the sky.

ARMIDALE is up in BIG SKY COUNTRY. On the edges of it. And ULMARRA seemed to me to have skies that spread forever – guess they do actually.

Down here, the skies are more subtle. Trees can mask them. Hills and mountains alter their impact.The story of the Sky for me here is that the birds come from there. I have a lot of birds here. Kookaburras and butcher birds and lorikeets and all the wetland birds from next door.

The other story of the Sky for me in this Cottage is that I see the Sun rise in the morning and the Moon rise at night. There is only one airport nearby and it doesn’t have many planes and they are high above me so the noise doesn’t disturb. I see the sun and the moon rise and the Birds come. 

That’s my Story of the Sky.


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Paint me a picture of the landscape.

Dance me the dance of the waves.

Sing me of the legends of the river.

Tell me the story of the sky.




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