Gillian Marsden

The name (Marathon) seems poetry enough, not to mention the shallow clear beauty of the Nile river, rolling over a thousand boulders: each with its own note.

Somewhere in the hills there are tobacco patches. Down here, Elm trees sucker and beneath each of the largest, are farm dogs, kenneled and tethered. Like the elms, they are clearly related to each other.

Out the back, there are some old paddock trees and I remember them as dead, but they are not. Scarred by fire, thrashed about by weather but not, by any means, dead. I make myself walk ones shadow, tracing out the soft smudgy edge of its canopy that has been projected onto the pasture by the high sun; there is snow on Ben Lomond off to the South East though, and later, with bare feet and jeans rolled up to my knees, I feel like I might explode from the coldness of the river which is running just a little higher now with the snow-melt.

And there is another kind of shadow; the feathers and bones of old tree birds splayed out on the ground; scattered after a vigorous bath and shake; these birds that look strange in paddocks, like Wedge-Tail Eagles on the ground.