Freya Mathews

Journey to the Source of the Merri

On a sunny October morning in 1999, three friends set off to find the source of their local creek, the Merri. Starting where the Merri joins the Yarra River, they followed the watercourse through city, suburbs, outer industrial wastelands, farmscapes and the foothills of the Great Divide. Temples, goddesses, medieval churches, sacred birds, sanctuaries, holy waters and powerful originary sites manifested to the walkers along the way, until after seven days they reached the headwaters, where a final revelation awaited them. Was pilgrimage a kind of philosopher's stone, they wondered, that could open up the mythic inexhaustibility of reality to the pilgrim heart, however familiar the scene and modest the destination? Love quest, adventure, exercise in reinhabitation, in walking the world into being, in philosophical wayfaring, the journey to the source of the Merri took the friends into uncharted metaphysical country at the heart of everyday terrain. Freya Mathews teaches philosophy at La Trobe University and has published widely in the area of ecological philosophy. She is also on the management committee of CERES environment park in Melbourne, and in 2002 held the post of Community Philosopher there.
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