We are river people. On the banks of Birrarung / the Yarra River life for the past seventeen years, which spans the entirety of our children’s lives, has incorporated the flow of the river. Her floods and mists, coolness and reflectivity are part of who we are. As Melbourne went into lockdown and we were limited to one hour of exercise close by, we visited her more than ever.

Noticing things – the purity of the water, the clarity of light, the prevalence of birds – we became acutely aware that we were observing the wonderful side effects of the anthropause. 

No cars on the roads, no litter in the drains, no rumbling planes hanging low on their descent to Tullamarine. All around was stillness, slowness, and a suspension of the everyday.

As if in an alternative dimension, from deep in time past, the river offered a beguiling place to warm our bodies, linger, or to swing out over the water.

Despite the realities of lockdown - the daily numbers, the briefings, the opinion columns, the deaths, the sadness - this unexpected pause, where the human world was momentarily silent, reminded us that nature is pervasive. It wraps around us but is often unnoticed.

We learnt to look again.

This series was created on Wurundjeri Land over the repeated lockdowns, due to the Global Pandemic, in Naarm/ Melbourne, Australia.

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