Hilda Oakley

Australian author and poet

   Apr 12

River Deep and Wide

It was lovely autumn weather.  Leah lay on the riverbank watching the fish swim by.  What a perfect day to be out on the water!  Launching her canoe she paddled happily along.  She drifted gently with the current!  Her thoughts far away!  Slowly her eye-lids drooped.

Suddenly Leah was jerked awake as the water turned to turbulent, frothy, spume filled spray.  The wild raging river sent white water sprays high into the sky.  Leah’s canoe was thrown crashing, smashing against rocks, sinking, pulling her down.  Ahead could be heard the roar of the water as it cascaded and crashed over the falls.  Leah frantically looked high and low for help. Lurching out, she grasped onto an overhanging branch.

As she clung tightly to the branch, she was dragged ashore by a big furry paw.  As quickly as help had come, her rescuer disappeared into the wilderness.

“What is this?  What on earth have I got myself into?”  There were people everywhere; some were dressed in kookaburra garb, platypus attire and koala costumes.  Tents were scattered along the riverbank.  People milled around giving her a warm welcome.

Leah eventually realized these people were demonstrators.  They were protesting over the damming of the river.

As the people discarded their costumes, Leah gasped!  “Oh my goodness!  That man in the koala outfit is none other than Senator Bob Green; the director of the Wildlife and Wilderness Society!”

A hush fell upon the crowd as Senator Bob took his place on an upturned log.

“Fellow protestors!” he began.  “We have been vigilant!  We have been committed!  We have made ourselves clear.  The forest is not to be destroyed!”

A cheer rang out from the crowd.

“And now, I bring news of a victory!”

Excitement filled the air as the crowd cheered once more. “We have endured, conquered and won the fight!  The flora, the animals and the entire environmental system have been saved.  This pure, pristine river flows freely again, breathing new life throughout the forest!”

Leah was deeply moved by the entire experience.  Protestors were hugging one another, punching the air, shaking hands, thumping backs.  The joy was contagious!


Years later, returning by canoe, Leah stood respectfully where the protestors had made their stand.  Surrounded by the luscious, luxurious green of the forest, all their work could be seen and admired by generations to come.

Hilda Oakley   Copyright © 04.02 2013

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