Musings on Mirrool Creek: Episode One – Rodent Remembrances of Flood

Musings on Mirrool Creek

 MirroolCreekBeckom4

Events and stories influence our lives.  This first episode, of a longer work, draws on an experience of the flooding of the Mirrool Creek NSW (Australia) back in 2012.  Only this is different.  It is a fictional tale about how animals responded to the flood.  When I was a youngster I was familiar with both Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908) and Ethel Pedley’s Dot and the Kangaroo (1899).  Evidently, both had an impact on me.

Episode One – Rodent Remembrances of Flood

Warren the water rat stretched

Paws

And claws

Sniffing at

The air

Out there.

Damp dewdrops on dewy grass

The sun shone

And it sang:

I am the Sun!

            Shining in the day.

            I rest at night

            When the moon shines bright,

            And I beam your path each day.

           

           When the rains are over,

            And clouds clear from the sky,

            My dazzling heat warms your feet,

            And I sparkle in your eye.

A good day

It was

And Warren was content

To forage about

In and out

All day.

The next dawn awakened him

A rumble

The ground tremored

Dots of rain fell

Soft and spaced at first

And then faster

And faster and longer

And soon the banks

Of the creek were slides of sluice.

On and on it went

For how long he did not know.

Distant at first

A rush

A louder rush

Could be heard

Behind

The beat

Of the rain.

Then it was closer

And closer

A mighty roar

And a torrent

Of foaming waters

Full

Of debris and detritus

Gushed through.

Warren was away

Spinning and whirling

And turning

And tossing this away

And that away

And castaway on.

He could not see

Or steer or paddle

As he was pummelled

And pell-melled

By the deluge.

The flood rushed on

And it sang:

I am the Waters of the Flood

            Gushing through the streams,

            I fill the creeks and flush the billabongs

            Until they burst their seams.

            I press on to the river,

           I silt and snag the lakes.

           I fill and push the reservoirs,

          Until the dam wall shakes.

          And when the force is spent,

           I meet the estuary bay,

          Till the ocean becomes the clouds,

          And it begins again one day.

The valiant vermin was swept

Along with great

Velocity and violence

Until thud!

And blackness began.

Warren came too

on his back,

his head resting against

something quite hard

and the rest of him also prone.

Rats are ever so,

Verily so,

Proud of the white tip

Adorning the point

Of their strong tail.

But

His whole tail was

Covered from end to end

In sludge

Of all the same

Colour and

No tip could be seen.

He roused and rocked grumpily

Sprang and shook himself.

Then he began exploring

Sniffing, sliding, scratching until

He alighted on an object

It was smooth and shiny yet

Unlike slime,

It wasn’t as wet.

He scratched and scraped and bit and

Oh, it smelled a little like

Like,

Grain.

He ate and ate some more

And it broke and he was covered

In this white, grainy dirt.

Now not only his tail tip

But every paw

And his snout

Were white tipped.

“Eek!”

a human screamed

and swung

a funny branch-like thing

at Warren.

He scurried here

He scurried there

Looking and sniffing

And sniffing and looking

Until out into

The sunshine he was.

And the sun sang:

I am the Sun above,

            I shine atop the flood,

            I dry out all the trees and grass,

            And creatures bearing blood.

            I shine upon the silt and sludge.

            I dry all wet by rain,

            I free the silting trails and paths,

            So creatures may travel again.

Simon C.J. Falk                16 January 2015

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