The Hidden Lake And The Sentinel Who Sees The Leaving

Photography: Trish Jean

I was travelling to Canberra earlier in the week and did something I’ve been meaning to for so long! I stopped at the designated photo taking spot at Lake George that gives a view of the wind turbines. I had my friend’s lens to try out, though I didn’t too well with it! But it was fun, a bit like having a telescope.

Lake George used to be full of water when I was kid. These days not so much. Australian Geographic explains it like this..

…it’s possible for Lake George to disappear entirely. The large body of water rises and falls seemingly mysteriously, and has done throughout its history. But while micropalaeontologist Patrick De Deckker is fascinated by the lake, he’s quick to take any mystery out of the equation. “There are no mysteries of Lake George. People say when it goes down a lake in New Zealand goes up, but that’s not true,” says the Australian National University professor, who has studied the water body for over 30 years.

In fact, Lake George isn’t a lake at all, he explains. “It’s actually a depression that turns into a lake when it fills. There’s always water below the lake floor, and amazingly, it is saline, but if you have more rainfall, the lake fills up,” he says.

It was great to watch the bird life and the kangaroos that were grazing. I like the crow, the sentinel…keeping an eye on the evening crawling across the Lake.

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter

(Corey Marks)

A child wanders into a wood
and follows a river’s frozen course
through trees, through a constant wind
so harsh it scatters pine needles
into the air, startling a sentinel crow.
The child shades her eyes with a hand

to see the cawing’s source. Her hand
is bare. She’s not dressed for the wood,
or the cold, and is surprised by the crow,
by its warning, its splintering voice, coarse
yet sharp, pricking the hush like a needle
with the call for its flock to take to the wind.

The cry turns feeble in the wind
as the child listens, rubbing one hand
against the other. Her palms teem with needles
as they warm, and the cawing fails in the wood,
fading before it completes its course.
She wants to ask, Why does the rooster crow

to announce the morning, but never the crow?
But for answer she’d hear the wind,
gusting and hollow, and water, coursing
quietly below ice. Her hands’
thin, dry rustle. The wood
swallows its answers, and spits needles

instead, flocks of needles
perforating the air around the crow
and the child. A hush binds the wood,
strung through branches in a taut wind
as though tightened by an unseen hand –
the clockmaker’s, say, who of course

prefers the silence, the unquestioned course
of time, the way the sharp needle
of the ceaseless, persistent second-hand
ticks away each hour until the crow
emerges from the clock, and the girl winds
along her mechanical trail in the wood.

But she dreams another course – the crow
sweeping through pine needles in the wind
to her open hand, just as she knew it would.

After I left Lake George I headed off the highway to chase the sun as it was leaving the day, and ended up I don’t know where, but with interesting views of wires and wonder.

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