Dissolution, dissipation, conclusion, finish, outflow, ebbing… becoming again. As bodies of water, we are all flowing through one another–leaking, sponging, dripping, seeping. But as bodies of water we are also always becoming something else–unstating and dissolving our watery selves, to feed the liquid hunger of new lively desires. While the source of a river often captures a common imaginary, how are we to think its ending?  

The end of the river is also called the mouth.

In a time of many endings–lives lost to a pandemic, species lost to climate change, but also ways of life lost to colonialism and capitalism–what could we learn from a river, as it terminates and becomes something else? Endings invite contemplation of what is left behind, as well as what is to come. Attending to endings and inhabiting them might serve as a suture, a caesura, or a different kind of temporality altogether. In the words of Deborah Bird Rose, the “problem of imagining an end that actually is an end entails ethics.” For Rose, following the work of James Hatley, “contemplating the ethical dimensions of learning to accept and affirm endings” would be “to turn our life action toward the mutual co-flourishing of life here on earth”; this in turn would require “care for others in our present moment and place” as the “basis for repairing the ruins of the earth” (Rose, 2017 pg 153).

This reading group session takes inspiration from a companion event, organised by Astrida, Clare Britton, and Aunty Rhonda Dixon Grovenor, called The River Ends As the Ocean (an updated registration link will be posted here shortly – please check back). On Sunday 20 December, this durational performance and public walk will be conducted over one outgoing tide cycle (approx. 8 hours), timed to mark the end of the day, the end of the tide, the end of the season (on the eve of the solstice), and the end of year. It follows a body of water–Sydney’s Cooks River–to its ending, in and as another body of water. It invites deep contemplation of the river’s own story, as it winds through Wangal, Gadigal and Gameygal Country, while also offering an opportunity to contemplate endings and transitions. While the reading group session and the walk are organised independently, please consider them companion species!

This reading group session also marks another end: the end of Astrida’s time in Sydney, and thus, with Jennifer more-or-less happily ensconced in Armidale, the end of COMPOSTING in its current configuration. We will return in 2021, the same but different.

So please join us for critical discussion and convivial release of whatever you are leaving behind.

Lead Composter: Astrida Neimanis

When: Wednesday 16 December 10-11:30 am AEDT

Where: WE ARE ONLINE! Join us on ZOOM at


  • Pemulwuy” by Hannah Donnelly, from After Australia, Ed. Michael Mohammed Ahmad (5 pgs)
  • Message from the Ngurra Palya” by Amber Kwaymullina, from After Australia, Ed. Michael Mohammed Ahmad (poem, 11 pgs)
  • Futuromania” by Billy-Ray Belcourt, from A History of My Brief Body (15 partial pgs)
  • Hewers of Cake and Drawers of Tea” by JK Gibson-Graham, from End of Capitalism (as we knew it). It is long (32 pp) but it is worth it. If you are time-pressed, skip to the conclusion pp 233-237 (and then you will want to go back and read the whole thing!)


Banner image: Clouds in the Cooks River, Astrida Neimanis

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