This is Lake George. “So?” you might be saying, “It’s a pretty normal looking lake.” But that’s the point: it’s got water in it. Lake George almost never has water in it. In the late 1800s it was full of water and people came down from Sydney for boating parties in their long dresses and three-piece suits and hats. They stayed in guest houses on the shores of the lake where now there are only rocks and wind turbines. I met someone who sailed there as late as the 1960s, but for years and years and years it’s looked like this:
Sheep graze on it. People put great art installations on it. Some people find it spooky. You can walk on it and you’re not walking on water. I once walked right to the middle, over cracked earth and tufts of grass. Out there everything was completely still and quiet. It felt very calm. I had an overwhelming urge to lie down on the earth and stay there. I thought how nice it would be to build a house out there, on stilts, just in case the water came back.
Well, this year the water came back. You drive over the hill and there it is—that astonishing sight. People must go, “Oooh!” as they drive towards it. I know I do. Lots more people stop to take photos. What was once a huge, dry plain is now a shimmering, cloud-reflecting enormous lake. When a lake has been dry for so long you start to believe it will always be that way, so when it suddenly turns into a lake with water it’s a brilliant, vivid, sun-sparkling reminder of how things can change. No matter how long they’ve stayed the same, things can change.