Margaret Somerville’s walk along the riverlands of Western Sydney, Australia connects us all to the timelessness of the river’s edge and the mixing of old and new worlds we confront when we venture onto riparian shores. Just as the river changes the soil and rock beds, Somerville reminds us that we too “become” when we sit in stillness to notice the waterways around us. And, as the rivers change, they also offer a stillness and peace within the chaos of our Earth, particularly during times of COVID and social unrest. With a mix of the science of rivers and how humanity is part of that fluid system, the reader becomes enmeshed by the rivers and their connections well beyond ourselves to the greater planet around us.
South Carolina waterways offer many of us peace and release during our current challenges, but also speak to us of the heritage and past from Native American tribes to the vast changes to their banks by the hands of slaves for rice production. Rivers are the subjects of our culture, our music, the source of our foods, a means of transportation, and a respite for many today. Rivers and their wetlands provide buffers from flooding during storms and hurricanes, and they alert us to the impacts of new development to their/our health.
Riverlands of the Anthropocene
is the perfect read to encourage us all to get lost in the flow of the river and experience its boundless sense of time. Through personal experiences, poetry, and ecological analysis, Somerville weaves the story of rivers into something deeper: a search for hope amidst the time of the Anthropocene, when so much seems to be changing, and a reminder that we are all connected to something larger. As you visit the Waterways exhibit this summer and throughout the next year, bring along a copy of
and get lost in the waters edge.