The Horizon Is Not a Line

There is a space on the horizon where the ocean blurs with the sky. I try not to lose sight of it as I travel along the mummified coast of the Nullarbor Plain. Once upon a time (some 3.5–5 million years ago), these plains hosted a lush forest. A rise in ocean temperatures created that ecosystem; stalagmites and stalactites hidden in the many caves dotting the area carry a distant memory of it. As temperatures get warmer again, a similar forest might once again cover the Nullarbor Plain. At a time at which water mismanagement has created a future of dust and blood for Australia, climate change could turn this desert wet.

Gum trees progressively replace saltbushes and scrubs on the limestone bedrock. Rain falls heavily, hiding the traces of the Maralinga and Emu Field nuclear tests. Dust settles as mist. Stars twinkle above and the extensive meteorite deposits preserved by the formerly arid climate start to disappear, blending with the limestone. The dead, dehydrated horses of the first European explorers float away. Horizons collapse and everything dissolves into particles of rain. Flatness continues.

 

Title Image:

Camille Roulière, Untitled, 2017, photograph, courtesy of the artist

 

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Camille Roulière recently finished her cotutelle PhD on spatial poetics (Universities of Adelaide and Caen-Normandie) and was awarded a University Doctoral Research Medal for her thesis, entitled ‘Visions of Water’. She also works creatively with media, stretching from words to notes through glass, acrylics and metal.

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