The Death Letter Project
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Steven Lindsay Ross | Public Servant / Writer

An unseen realm

Of infinite light and dark

waving between states of being

Material and immaterial

The unbreakable thin veil


Death and the beyond has always fascinated me. Being Wamba Wamba, Gunditjmara and Mutthi Mutthi I have been around a lot of life and death in my 40 odd years.

Death informs and feeds all my identity dualities but mostly the divide between the Dreamtime and the physical world: the seen and unseen; my spirit self and my internal empirical scientist; my black and white.

Whenever I need to decompress, to meditate and dig deeper into existence, bore into space time, I go to the River.

I grew up on the plains of the Murray River valley, a place of many rivers, waterways, creeks, lakes and billabongs. The Edward River or Koletch in the ancient tongue of my grandfather, is the original course of the Murray River until a great upthrust of the earth some 20,000 years ago moved the flow southwesterly. Koletch now flows out of the Murray before joining it again a few hundred kilometres downstream and they slowly tumble south.

It winds its way across the plains, churning across the red earth, scratching through the ground, dirt, mud. It beats with a frequency like all rivers across the planet and across the galaxy. It is unique but the same, following the laws of the universe but forming its own identity and path. 

The Koletch is life.

As it reaches the end of its trek through the dirt, it takes one last deep breath in the lakes of the Murray basin expelling all its grit, sand, poisons and blood into the great southern ocean, its constance and flow is over. It begins a new existence, part of a greater body, another constellation. It is the same, chemicals, made of the same pulsing blood, plasma, fluids.

And it is different. A new existence, the Yemurreki, the Dreaming.  Churning as before, but open, rambling, boundless and seemingly limitless, deep, dark and powerful. 

Life and death are one cycle, the ancestors moved downstream before me into the Yemurreki and my infinity of nieces and nephews behind me, push me closer to the great cold ocean.

The Death Letter Project welcomes your comments and feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page or alternatively submit a message below.

  • Love this line "Churning as before, but open, rambling, boundless and seemingly limitless, deep, dark and powerful" to describe death. - Fern Smith (email)
  • So beautiful I feel I'm being given the secrets of life through these two first letters. - Rosada Hayes (Facebook)
  • Beautifully written... poetry in motion ... 🌼💛 - Colleen Pettiford (Facebook)
  • I, too, thought it profoundly moving and poetic. - Pam Cossey (Facebook)
  • Beautiful and very calming. - Rohana Hayes (Facebook)