The Swan River, Bassendean, Perth

Australia: afternoon by the river

Late afternoon. The sky an exaggerated blue. Later as the sun gets lower, the eucalypts reflecting bronze. The sea breeze not properly set in yet and instead a light easterly blowing warm and dry against my skin. The shade just cool enough to be comfortable, as long as you realize you won’t feel cool until after the sun’s gone down.

I’m sitting by the river with a novel. Bull ants are crawling around my feet, but I can’t be bothered moving. Nearby, a family is fishing. I wonder if you can swim this far upstream in the Swan? I’ve never seen anyone swimming near here, but is that because of water quality issues, or folklore? I grew up being told the River was nasty. We went canoeing sometimes for outdoor ed in high school, and were half-convinced that if you couldn’t keep your canoe upright you’d die of horrible river diseases. But I’ve seen people swimming in water a lot worse than this elsewhere in the world.

And it definitely does my head in to think this is just a park in the suburbs, an everyday part of this city.


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