Published in Overland Issue 214 Autumn 2014 · Writing Topography Myles Gough the soles of her sneakers scrape the gritty sand a butterscotch-ripple-trail, glass and melted stone and tufts of sunburnt grass that somehow find a way she charts her steps carefully while I travel in leaps, heroic and haphazard over the scarred edges of shallow craters containing rust-coloured rain mirrors for clouds and skating rinks for mosquitoes she smiles when I look back, diamond-shaped dimples darken a perfect day, she says. Indeed the jagged cliff is bird-like. Eagle rock, says the map I say it looks more like a turtle’s head protruding from an ancient sedimentary shell you’re wrong, she says, tracing an outline with her finger nail painted purple. It’s definitely an eagle down below, turbulent waves crash and spill over the flat shelf white cold and bubbling a pair of fishermen, pant legs rolled up, retreat from the rising tide they wade backwards with white buckets, carrying metal poles and green plastic bags with jittery half-live fish I bite my avocado and Swiss cheese sandwich and she peels our still-sour mandarin the large one with the black t-shirt slices silver flesh on grey rock as we look on carves out its guts and final breath with his shiny blade at half-three we ascend, with giant strides up sandstone steps to the surface of the moon, our own lunar landing we’d be kicking up dust for days, she says. Radioactive regolith charged and floating and unforgiving to the machines of man past the beach with the lone sunbather, baked, brown and blissful and the father and son skipping stones in the snaking saltwater stream the path turns inland, into and between wind-warped trees that curl and bow and tilt at odd and oppressive angles, like disoriented ballerinas between footsteps, we listen to the chorus of birds, playing games inside a maze of thorny branches, hide-and-seek and Marco Polo moving like tossed darts, rustling leaves, before exploding through rare openings a flash of feathers momentarily silhouetted against the turning sky this way to Deer Pool, says the yellow lettering on the pointed wooden sign the trail widens, a rush of liquid crystals cascades over slippery, ageless surfaces we tiptoe across, like charcoal crows on a telephone wire and still we manage to soak our socks through our shoes the way back is shorter. It always is, she says a re-enactment in reverse, recognisable landmarks lighten the load and mark the way like street lamps in summer, as dusk settles like a blanket in the half-light, I blink away the blurry edges and listen to the whisper of pea-sized pebbles crunching beneath my own rubber soles her hand finds mine. It’s cold. We’re almost there I know, she says. I know Myles Gough Myles Gough is a freelance journalist who has written for Al Jazeera, New Matilda and the Australian science magazine Cosmos. He also writes poetry and short fiction, and was the second runner-up in the 2012 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize. More by Myles Gough › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays 3 First published in Overland Issue 228 26 May 20238 June 2023 · Writing garramilla/Darwin Lulu Houdini We sit in East Point Reserve and look at how the gidjaas, green ants, make globe-like homes out of the leaves — connected edges with fibrous tissue that I later learn is faithful silk. Safe inside. Why isn’t it safe outside? I pick up the plastic around this circular lake cause this is the way […] 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 23 February 202324 February 2023 · Writing From work to text, and back again: ChatGPT and the (new) death of the author Rob Horning Generative models extinguish the dream that Barthes’s Death of the Author articulates by fulfilling it. Their ‘tissue of signs’ seems less like revolution and more like the fear that AI will create a recursive postmodern nightmare world of perpetual sameness that we will all accept because we no longer remember otherwise or how to create an alternative.