This is the Styx


Because of the tide times I’ve been altering my morning walks with Jambo. Instead of going downstream towards the TAFE I veer off southwards and follow the small water course that enters the drain just east of the fuel depot. This is the original Styx Creek, the one that shows up on the old maps and heads down Samdon Street and, many moons ago, through what is now Gregson Park and on to its headwaters.


It’s a nice walk in the morning. The bamboo, which had grown up since Google Maps took the aerial photos at the height of the drought, provide a screen from the train tracks and give it a secluded feeling. It’s now channelled and appears on maps as “Chaucer Street drain” though, if I had my thinky hat on, I could probably come up with some quip about this being the entrance to the underworld or the gateway to Hades, and the wagon of coal could come in there too … but, well, I can’t think of anything.

The eastern side is covered in dense bamboo and lantana. The other day I heard my first whip bird in there in AGES, and it’s a favourite place for the black ducks to nest. Foxes like it, and Old Mate reckons there are escaped and feralised guinea pigs rustling around the place. Which sounds bizarre, but I’ve no reason to doubt him. On the western side is the pristine lawns of the fuel depot.


Not so pristine is the leakage from the fuel depot. On sunny days you can see beautiful rainbows in the water.


The other morning I saw my shadow self, and Jambo’s shadow self, trotting along the banking.


As we got closer to the creek the air began to buzz with flies and a certain smell began to attack our nostrils. Well, attack mine. I think to Jambo it was like the delicious odour of a barbecue on a weekend afternoon. I’ve seen dead cats in the creek before but never one that shows signs of having been trapped, killed and thrown off the Chinchen Street bridge. It was still partially bagged and in it’s deathly rictus.


My nose was too sensitive to check whether there was a coin for the ferryman in pussy’s mouth. I’m guessing not, but last seen s/he seemed to be bobbing happily towards the Gates of Hell. Hamilton North style.