When The River Runs High – The Yarra River Floods.
October 7th 2022
Today the Yarra spilled over the banks to cover the bike tracks and walking paths, not too much, but enough you could not walk through. The rain kept falling from the previous week, and it was no surprise the water would rise. But I was a tiny bit surprised to see a good flood, and my prediction the week before, as I stood in the drizzling rain to watch the river, seemed to be confirmed.
The Rain Keeps Falling.
The afternoon walk abandoned, our walking party went back up the stairs to stand at the bridge, still blocked off, and looked over the railing at the river below as it continued to rain.
We watched from the top lookout the Yarra river transformed into liquid gravity. An almost solid moving mass of torrents and vortices spiralled and collided, pushed and pulled in a magnetic field.
It didn’t seem an organic way for a river to move.
And my friend who stood with me remarked – “there must be large rocks in the river to make those spirals, that or stormwater pipes?”.
I had watched the same spirals a week prior, and considered underground water was creating disturbances in the current. Whirls that spun clockwise and counterclockwise would appear in certain places, and I wondered if it was natural physics or physical interference?.
Standing over the river, I measured with my eye the height of a tree on the bank below me; it was perched precariously on a deep slope created artificially by developers still building the new apartment city over the river.
The tree was plotted approximately 4m above the river, the pathway behind it was another 4m higher, and the new development above that was another 4m more.
How high is too high?
The tree’s top was the height of the first-floor landing for the apartments newly built along the river – which made the tree about 12m high. I turned to my friend, leaning over the rail and watching the river, and said, “You think it can get that high?”
“As high as what?” – he said.
Me – “The river, could it get as high as the top of that tree?”.
And I pointed to the one I was eyeing.
He said, “No way”, it was possible, and I said – “Are you sure about that?”.
It seemed impossible ever to get that high – but knowing the unpredictability of tidal rivers, anything is possible.
I went home that evening and began researching the last time the Yarra River broke banks and flooded the area I lived in now and how high it rose. From what I discovered (and now we all know), it was 14m, and not far from me, it swamped the inner city suburbs of Collingwood, Richmond, South Yarra and South Melbourne.
I sent the archive picture and the article to my mate and my mother, circling the height the river reached.
And I Found My Answers Here.
Neumann, my basenji, and I left our building when the sun shot out in the middle of the day. We hurried to the Riverwalk from the backway, down past cold apartment complexes, empty industrial blocks filled with rubble and overflowing bins – down past the warehouses and storage to the little park at the bend.
We followed her, the Yarra, to the dirt track and were surprised to see it swimming with the brown river. Track no more.
I spotted giant Water dragons clinging to a tree trunk, now half sunk in the water, the current so quick they had no other option but to hold tight and wait. Even in what looked like shallower water, making a break could mean drowning. I just hope it won’t flood too long, or the wildlife might start to go hungry.
This time the river had flooded much more than last week
I could not help but feel a bit smug when I called to tell my friend the river had flooded the pathway above the tree – making it 8m high.
With more rain due, no one is really sure what comes next?.
I know there won’t be a huge issue where I live, and the river was significantly modified after the Great Flood in 1891, so I am sure it will be ok. Having said that, I do know for sure – never underestimate the forces of nature.
Guest Contributor: Emily Rack
Business Name: Horatio’s Jar
Emily Rack is a freelance creative writer, researcher, multi-disciplinary artist, designer and digital producer. Approaching life with a philosophical perspective, Emily helps others find meaning and reason in their lives and the creative projects they pursue.
She has dedicated her life to researching and understanding matters of the mind, body-, and the human experience and she shares her skills through mindfulness and wellbeing classes and events.
Her discoveries and research focus on cultivating tools and dialogue that encourage us to live in peace and harmony.
Her current focus is the environment and human connectivity, conservation, environmentalism, botany, biology-, and the practice of ‘Nature Bathing’. Emily is a writer, digital content creator, seasoned photographer-, and visual artist.
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