Paddling Down The Darling
Paddling Down the Darling
If you go back to a place laden with its fond memories it can be disastrous or it can be marvellous. In the 1970s I had drifted down the Darling River in western New South Wales. An eighteen month trip in a ten-foot boat with no motor. I had adventure, found love, and experienced a personal awakening (sometimes referred to as a breakdown). Then in 2010 I returned to the Darling. I paddled a fifteen foot canoe from Menindee to Wentworth and just in case I missed something, I did the same trip in 2012 and in 2013. All three trips went beyond marvellous.
In 2010 the river was low and I relived memories, created new ones and made a life-changing decision. I decided to retire from teaching and write a book about the seventies trip. And as well as the adventures and the solitude, even though they were tempered by deep melancholy, I went searching. I wanted to find God and I thought I had done so. But there were still questions of doubt.
In 2011, South-east Australia was pretty much under water and I rode the flood down the Darling. But there were dangers;...