Subject: Re: navigable rivers

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Wed Feb 18 18:04:48 EST 2004

--- Ven <vendersleighc at> wrote:
> Jon, Karen Elise, I've been feeling in danger of
> being swept away by the sheer quantity and
> quality of recent posts in threads I'm
> participating in, to say nothing of the need to
> write reams in reply so I just wanted to break
> off to say how much I appreciated your posts in
> this thread, what a marvellous subject. In
> particular, Jon, the way you show that neither
> rivers nor people can be subject to precise
> definition.

Rivers are interesting things, they are the most
obvious physical boundary there is, but because they
flow through the middle of things usually with the
same sorts of territory and society on either side,
they are a social conduit rather than a boundary. And
they are always changing, not so much in the
philisophical "you can't swim in the same river twice"
sense but in the more obvious sense of flooding or
disapearing in drought, and changing their course. In
Australia it is so flat in central Australia that
rivers can take months for floods to travel down them
from mountains thousands of kilometres away. It is
quite possible for there to be a flooded river
travelling through drought-striken countryside. (and
only in Australia does it take six rivers to make one
creek). Rivers are also interesting in literature
(influenced here by our year 12 students who are doing
physical journeys as a theme in English - I've jusdt
done a booklist for them) - DWJ doesn't seem to make
much use of rivers, although bridges appear in her
books. Spellocats (yes I know that should be
spellcoats but I think that typo deserves to live)
iirc has a river but its been a long time since I read
that one and I've just discovered that the reason I
can't find my copy is that my daughter loaned it to a
former boyfriend (before he was former) and has no
hope of getting it back.


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