A River Pilgrimage
Selected by the State Library as one of six books to represent Victoria for the National Year of Reading 2012.
‘In these darkening times, we can sense the stories we most need: stories of our country and the power that it holds. Very few books deal with such things. This is one.’
‘The Yarra has found in Maya Ward the ideal witness … She has written not just an account of a river walk, but a sacred geography of a river.’
‘A story of historical , cultural and environmental significance, told in shimmering prose.’
This is the joyful yet heartbreaking true story of four friends who walk a 21- day pilgrimage from the sea to the source of Melbourne’s Yarra River. There is no path for most of the way, but offers of campsites and boats, and free access to private lands, illustrates the generosity shown to pilgrims even in modern times. Maya Ward’s lyrical exploration of her river as it winds through the city and the wild is a revelation, a testament to the fact that the greatest of worlds are often at our doorstep. Its author understands the power of the natural world to transform lives, and writes about the connection between a river and the self with humility, humour, and a clear-headed wisdom.
The telling of her own journey and that of her fellow walkers is seamlessly woven together with ecological and cultural history, the revelation of the pilgrim’s path and the unknowable depth of Aboriginal myth. Through trekking this Wurundjeri Songline, this ancient, ever-renewing river, she discovers rich possibilities of belonging, and shares how a river can nourish the passion and resilience required to transform our world.