The Sound of Water

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I can still remember a song I learnt back in primary school. It was about a trout innocently swimming in ‘a brooklet bubbling’. A picturesque scene is created … And then someone with a fishing line appears and goodbye ‘merry master trout’.

Earlier this year we purchased a new washing machine. You can perhaps imagine my surprise when, at the end of the cycle, the machine began to play the Schubert melody to which the old school song had been set.

We are fortunate to have a creek behind our home in the Blue Mountains. After rain, it can be clearly heard rushing along the valley floor to the river. If you follow the nearby fire trail, there are some good views looking down into the creek. There is a large, flat overhang where I often go to view the creek when it is in flood. There are some small rock hurdles that the water noisily has to negotiate.

‘The joyous gurgling of a tiny waterfall’ is the subject of an essay in a favourite anthology, The Eloquent Silence. To the essayist, W.P. Hodgkinson, the water makes ‘perpetual music’ as it tumbles over all in its way. He believes there is a job waiting for ‘waterfall-tuners’ after heavy rains. Sticks and leaves need removing to return the fall of water to its old musical gurgle. I often think of  these imaginary ‘tuners’ when following a water course. I also recall the ‘brooklet bubbling’ in the childhood song. The sound of water in the natural landscape certainly has a special appeal.

And yes, touch wood, our washing machine continues to please. Secretly, I would have taken it on the strength of that melody alone and all the memories it has revived.

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