Stillness by the River

Why did it catch my eye, that something on the surface of the river? It looked just like a stick, a fat one, floating, but could it be that it seemed to be floating with an uncanny and wilful stillness, there in the current? Then I gasped. The floating thing vanished. It vanished in a sinuous roll under. A quick, silky curl into the depths, a wet pelt shining gold with the low sun. I was flooded with astonished delight, that a simple dive could be so lovely. The ache, the catch in my throat at the precious rarity of platypus. There by Birrarung, at the place we call Platypus Bend.

Platypus dived there for the quite some time, up for air every minute or so. Each time she submerged was with that curling dive that left barely a ripple on the surface. Just a telltale trail of bubbles. And each time she surfaced she aligned herself to face the current, the cool water sliding around her beautiful body as she breathed. After her time of blind, skilful listening and sensing for food along the dark water’s bed, she opens her eyes to the green realm: sight then becomes her protector. My friend and I sat still so as not to scare her.

We were rewarded for our stillness. Stillness, by the river, is often rewarded. Leaning in and listening is the beginning; submerging, sensing, blind but curious, is next. It’s a delicate kind of hunt. It can be strange, and formless, but then there are bites of deliciousness, and the sensual delight that is immersion.

And perhaps we can bring something back from the depths, messages to be deciphered from the dimmest of signals. Only some can be translated. But the gladness we’re left with is irrefutable.

I’m trying here, in a sideways way, to share something of the process of co-becoming. It’s a process of learning from and with wild ones. Of surrendering the known and coming into contact with unexpected alivenesses. There is so much life, and always we are within it – our very cells, the bacteria within, the food we eat, the environs around – it’s inescapable, but we don’t have much training in how to attend to it as intelligent, communicative, creative and present. Co-becoming seeks to find ways to do this. It seeks immersion, the beautiful curl in. Because yes, it starts with going in, attuning to our bodies, and then, with a compassionate touch, reaching out to meet the other.

We have our next gathering on February 4th 2023, if you’re interested. Here’s what Kairava, then Amie, wrote about our process at the January gathering:

Delighted by the light in your eyes

The shapes of words spoken

The field of aliveness

That opened us all,

I drank in the freshness,

So ripe

We ruptured into one another

Into Life …

Into the web.


What community, what grace!

These female bodies, hearts, and minds that resonate with mine,

and in doing so elevate and amplify my form and feeling.

Thank you for the integrity in the room and circle,

for allowing trickster, and co-presencing my anguish.

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