The water is the temperature of blood. Under a white-hot sky the swimming hole at Dalhousie Springs is fringed with thick reeds and creamy-flowered, paper-barked Melaleucas. Long-billed corellas on drooping branches watch me float.
Slightly saline, a whiff of sulphur suggests the decades, centuries, the millennia that this water has been seeping through aquifers of the Great Artesian Basin. After days of dusty driving the relief of bathing in silky warmth lulls me to thinking that there’s plenty of water after all. Trickling emergences of water in the desert remind me of the importance of an inner life, something beyond the material. I muse on underland places, contemplating water oozing from deep below the surface.1 Groundwater’s place in localised water security is vital, yet often unrecognised. As weather events reach new extremes, groundwater is being pumped to its limits, pushed to the brink. I explore the narrative potency of groundwater, its links to the psyche of this continent, as it moves beneath my feet. What can this water story show? How are the effects of the Anthropocene being played out in subterranean ecosystems? I listen for groundwater’s imagined voices. The mound springs inspire stories, they feed my soul.
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