He called it “Water Ratting”- a pastime to enjoy on a break from the road, a day off from work. When the vagabond Hawken came upon a curious stream, rather than journey down it, he would follow the waters up river as far as he could. “I have sunburned and bruised myself yes, swum through cold canyon pools, fallen in nettles and off logs, sought delight in not knowing what will be around the next bend. “From beaver dams, to a bulldozer, to a lost floating lunch box to leeches- sought enchantment. We always looked forward to Hawken’s letters, and the journals he trusted to our safe keeping- here is one of his stories.
We are of the “Always, always”, we have dwelt here forever spoke the young turtle sunning herself in the mud, poolside. “Our kind to, dignified father heron, waiting patient as always for the low tide. “Generations of badger have dug tunnels on the high grassy banks, old crone badger growled, may mine not be the last, the voices on the sweet breeze from Nobody’s River, understood by young Hawken as he ambled past.
From the vast, salty mud flats away from the town, to the stony Seaward Ranges the waters in a series of falls, some dainty, some rambunctious, some in sun, others shaded, sitting still as a wood nymph, he understands, this place is forever: it is as was created.
Silly, Fantail a flit in the fern fronds, don’t be tempted by crumbs, says Wood Pigeon, hear me. Beware of the human lest you end up like the legends, of lost pigeon cousins, pecking in a far dirty city. Trout rose up and spoke, “if it is my destiny, I will feed this wanderer if he is hungry”. Goose Berry Bush ruffed leaves in reply, tartly, he may share my fruit to, when ripe, he appears the respectful type.
On Nobody’s River size and strength did not matter, the lands she bordered treasured by persons like Hawken who knew best to leave well alone. For it has been free forever, never tamed, or fenced off or owned. Too shallow for intrusion of noisy ships motors, too narrow and gentle for thrill seeking boaters. No road or groomed pathway to reach it, you must climb over boulders and flat stones, must rock-hop and wade. Hawken hears the voices on Nobody’s River, as but for his footfall, no sound intrudes here that is ever man
Nobody’s River cloaks herself Autumn evening, in robe of amethyst and dusty rose heather, Badger emerges, pauses, scents for the weather, she will return at dawn, to see the vagabond gone…all is well whispers breeze on Nobody’s River- farewell place of peace, may you stay wild forever.