I woke this morning to see the Darling Baaka River had changed colour overnight! Now you might be wondering why I'm so excited to see a muddy river outside my living room window. Here's the thing. The Darling Baaka river hasn't flowed for over 18 months due to a devastating drought that has affected many along the river. It has been okay where I live because we are located where the Darling joins the Murray river at Wentworth, and the Murray water creates a weir pool from the confluence to about 40 km upstream. The Murray river is quite khaki green in colour usually, whilst the Darling Baaka is the colour of milky tea. Towns upriver like Bourke, Wilcannia, Menindee and Pooncarie have been without water for a long time, creating enormous struggle for their communities. I have followed their excitement on Facebook as the Darling Baaka has flowed past their towns for the first time in over a year. This grand ancient river is the longest in Australia. Unfortunately, not only was there a drought but the river has been subject to abuse from irrigation practices. You can't begin to imagine the sheer joy of seeing such a beautiful river flowing again and more importantly, coming back to life.
I have just completed my latest album 'Darling Baaka' which was inspired completely by this amazing river and the life it brings, as well as its hardships. It seems appropriate that as the river flows again, the album was completed. Most tracks describe a positive aspect of living on the river but as the album was recorded in summer, there is a track called Dust where you hear clouds of dust swirling around the river. We seemed to average a dust storm a week. No rain meant no plants to stop soil erosion and in some places the soil even covered fences and sand drifts blocked major highways.
Today, we are in the throws of a pandemic. These are tough times indeed (and frankly a bit weird). Life is so very fragile and we can never know what is around the corner. Staying 'in the moment' is more important than ever as is helping each other. May each and every one of you be at peace and keep love in your hearts.
(I had to include a picture of our pooch - he just looks so peaceful don't you think?)
Footnote: The Darling River is called Baaka by Barkindji people and now the NSW Government is in the process of considering a dual name 'Darling Baaka'