Bardwell Valley, New South Wales, Australia
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
— Genesis 8: 5
“There it is.”
At last, the lights of Jindabyne come into view, doubled in the glossy black waters of the lake. The five-hour drive after work and school has stretched us all. The kids are restless but excited about the snow, about skiing.
“Look, Mummy, a lake,” my step-daughter says. “I didn’t know there was a lake.”
“Yes,” I say, “but it’s a spooky lake. People used to live at the bottom of it.”
I glance in the rear-view mirror trying to see her face. My wife looks at me doubtfully.
“It’s true,” I say, mysteriously.
“Well . . .” she says.
“Well,” I say, “the ruins of Old Jindabyne really are down there, under water. The year I was born, they dammed the valley as part of the Hydro-Electric Scheme and the waters of the Snowy River rose, flooding the old township. There are people still alive today that used to live and go about their lives at the bottom of that lake.”
“Really?” my wife says thoughtfully.
“Yes. Sometimes, when the water levels fall far enough, the locals say you can see the spire of the old church rise from the depths. Of course, it doesn’t really rise . . . Then again, the church is only a building—metaphorically speaking.”
a long drive home
between alpine peaks
half a dozen sunsets