We have an ongoing conversation, the river and I. Almost daily I cross her path, twice. She shows me her splendid colours and the elegance of her flow, sinuously weaving through the shingle beds, part of the baggage she’s carried from the alps. Dainty pink maiden’s blush downriver in the mornings; Lighting up in blue and gold in the evenings to the West. Always preening her finery.
The last few days have been different. Testament to the intensity of downpours on the West Coast – she swelled and surged with energy, a thick greybrown silt laden flow. Up to 1134 cubic metres per second yesterday. Thats a lot of water. Scouring the banks and weeds. “We needed this”, the ECan man said. “Cleans out the weeds that protect predators of our endangered birds nesting” in response to my enquiry. Ahh. I hadn’t thought about that. Or the fact that she’s squished and squeezed into this narrow path between the stopbanks, where they have to monitor her swelling girth and ensure she’s still contained. The river should be able to spread out in flood. “Used to flow through Christchurch” he said. Can’t have that then, can we?