I set out across Blackhead Bridge wondering whether there would be a sound worth hearing. I open my ears, and suddenly-birdsong! More than song: birds in conversation starting their working day, later to be echoed by the shouts of labourers in the shipyard, in the trucks, up the scaffolds, in the dry dock where the river ends and the working harbour begins. Water flows, trees rustle. The Doppler sound of passing cars arises, abides, and disappears. Ducks quack, trucks back up. Working men with lunchboxes park their cars and say “mornin’” as footsteps clatter across the wooden planks of the Helen Fogwill Porter bridge that marks the boundary of river to harbour to sea, crossing the water on its way to the place that disappeared. Then the pneumatic drills start sounding and all the birds, the river, the cars, the trucks shout to hear themselves above the din.
Hard heels on wood over water, I retrace my steps until the ratatatat of drills recedes. Cars, parked, are silent now; trucks idle while the river flows on and the birds pick up where they left off.
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