On the waterfront

I thought that the rain we got the other week would result in a banker but it was such a slow, steady fall that the creek just rose, nice and slowly, and then fell, nice and slowly. The kind of rain the farmers love.

I always have mixed feelings about rain after a prolonged dry period. The creek gets so clogged up with gunk and rubbish that it’s kind of cathartic to have it all swept away by one huge, cleansing flood. But then I know that all the crap has just been shunted down to Carrington mangroves, or the harbour, or the beach.

elephant_cushion

It’s still … THERE … even though I can’t see it.

stress_frog

There was an article in the Herald about the OdysSea group, who are encouraging people to litter-pick along the beaches. They’re great, those young folk, and I must admit I rather  envy them. The beaches are so iconic and so beautiful that it seems like a no brainer to ask help keep them clean and for people to respond. The creeks just don’t have that same emotional kicker. I pick stuff up but, let’s be frank, I ain’t gonna make much of a dent in this lot. And anyway, it’s just the drain.

scum_at_the_boom

Sometimes I don’t pick things up, deliberately. Big Ted, here. He’s not going to be accidentally swallowed by a cormorant or a turtle. Where will he go? Who will find him?

ted_floating_downstream

Not far, as it turned out. He staggered ashore down by the TAFE, still wet, a few days later. Don’t know where he is now.

ted_on_banking

Other things are just too elusive to pick up. This sign, from a car yard, teased me for at least two weeks, always bobbing up and down with the tide, always a good couple of metres offshore. Come and get me! Nyaah!

manual_car_sign

As well as the litter pollution the creek’s been suffering from the subterranean movement of oils, tars and residues from the gasworks and the petrol depot. This always speeds up when the warmer weather arrives; September isn’t just the month of koels and channel-billed cuckoos, it’s the month of gaseous miasmas and heady, bituminous pongs …

oily_concrete_bank

… and intriguing canisters of unknown origin that are impossibly tempting to your average cairn terrier.

red_bucket

But if I’m feeling slack and not picking up, the creek will always send me a reminder of why I should do the right thing. Saturday morning and, as the tide turned and pulled the bottles and cans and cigarette ends and lumps of polystyrene foam and nerf bullets and tennis balls and busted thongs out and down and away towards the harbour, this sad sight drifted past me. Another cormorant casualty. A young, healthy-looking bird. What had it swallowed? What had gotten caught and twisted in its gut?

cormorant_and_syringe

Get my bag. Pick it up. Even you, Big Ted. Even you.

beck_at_night_sept13

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One Response to On the waterfront

  1. Matthew Squair says:

    Reblogged this on My Favourite Year and commented:
    The original Styx was so awful that to one could bind an oath just by using its name, and if you drank from it the waters would render you voiceless for nine years…

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