I’ve fallen in love with a muddy river.
A waterway that defines a city. So much of what we do revolves around it. Or on it.
Everyone in Brisbane has a story about their river. You either live to the north or the south of it. Our great watery divide.
Other cities boast about aquatic attractions too. I like that. The magnificent Sydney Harbour. Bondi. Surfers Paradise beach. The famous Yarra. We’re all drawn to the water.
If you were somewhere else over the weekend, you missed a great time here. Riverfire is a spectacular like no other. We blow up tonnes of fireworks from one end of the river to the other, sip on cold drinks, and cheer like crazy when it’s done.
People find the best viewing spots early. Some are in place twelve hours before the first cracker goes off. Then they sit, and read, and talk to their neighbour in the next camping chair. All day. The river does that to you.
It’s great fun. But I don’t need a festival to celebrate what this amazing stretch of water provides.
I see it every morning. What a way to start the day. The same view, that’s constantly different. Colours change. Ever so slightly. If you look hard enough, you’ll see various shades of sparkle.
There’s always something happening. I see tug boats. And kayaks. Million-dollar cruisers and two-bob tinnies. Moving together, as if guided by an unseen marine conductor.
Forget the morning ritual on overcrowded trains. A mob of lucky ducks get to commute on a slick Citycat. Or a majestic ferry.
Their skippers spend their day cruising up and down the river. Constantly smiling. Probably because they don’t have to drive a bus.
Their passengers are happy too. Such a pleasant way to go somewhere. Life seems to slow down just a little.
I can catch a ferry to two of my favourite pubs. Almost door to door. Water transport to watering holes. On the way home, a bloke gets to see the city lit up at night. Sometimes through one eye. It could be straight out of a tourism brochure.
For all the beauty, there is awesome power in the river. We know that, from painful experience. In flood, a monster is revealed.
Memories of last year’s devastation remain raw. So much damage. Awful pain for many. Some still haven’t recovered. Others won’t come back. They couldn’t go through such trauma again.
I still can’t believe how high the water came. Stretching to levels that seem ludicrous. Reaching places that few would have expected.
It means we’ll never take her for granted. A generation won’t forget.
But it’s hard to hold a grudge with her. She’s such a major part of our life.
You’ll have your own special waterway. Take the time to enjoy it soon. Fireworks or no fireworks. Life by the river is pretty cool.