December bulrushes crowd the banks out into water. Yellow sand glows under the stream. Not like December last, when Wye River stopped in the beach and the hillsides crackled dry. It was stationary, one kind of hot day after another, a hint of smoke that eventually meant business. Now everywhere there are workmen, laying tar, felling timber. We share the footbridge, quiet as it ever gets here at Christmas. Quiet as anyone wants it, trade is slow. Even the surfers’ numbers are low and there’s little fishing off the railing. Herons drift down over the blackberries. Kookaburras watch for action.