Friday, June 11, 2004

The lagoons are drying up. A heron stands at the midpoint between the two banks.

The locals say - & to be a local you must have lived here for at least forty years or had three generations of your family do so – that when the lagoons are this low it means a flood is coming soon. I'm not so sure, but I must admit that there is less water than when we arrived a year ago, & there have been rains in that time.

Ten pelicans move across the water. That effortless glide. They are in a line at first, like nuns in a French movie. There used to be islands of them. Now most have gone south, to Lake Eyre in South Australia. Not an annual migration but something that only happens when there is water there, thousands of kilometres away.

Who knows what they are drawn by? Variations in atmospheric pressure, some strange bird telegraph? Perhaps implants at birth, for that is where their breeding grounds are. Whatever it is they are drawn by an instinctive knowledge that there is water there, for the first time in several years, the inland rivers feeding it, the final point of a months'-long journey down the continent from further north that I am now.

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