Mothers and Sons

London Bridge, near Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia

When my mother visited the Great Ocean Road a few years ago on her last visit to Australia, I tried to coax her to walk with me out across the two great spans of “our” London Bridge.

‘No’, she said, ‘it might fall’.

‘You’re right,’ I answered cunningly, ‘it might fall tomorrow, or it might fall in a thousand years . . . and I rather think it will be a little closer to a thousand years.’

Mother just smiled as she accompanied me out across the wide spans upon which tourist buses had once parked. And over many thousands of years before that the Kirrae Whurrong people would have enjoyed many a feast as evidenced here and there by the shell middens.

Two weeks later, when the first span fell into the sea, not much was said about it at our house. Yet I can’t think of that moment without a feeling of vast and warming joy passing through my body.