The light on Solway Firth is silver, slung low across the water. Although it’s mid-morning, within a few hours the sun will slip beneath the horizon. Accustomed to the wide blue mouth of sky in Australia, I feel as though the earth has tilted. My friends and I scramble over rocks weathered by the wash of tides. I’m wearing thermals, two jumpers, a red beanie and a coat, but the wind flies from the sea through my layers. My teeth clatter. We clamber around a corner, where we can just see Scotland on the other side of the firth. I wonder if Georgiana Molloy, who became Western Australia’s first female scientist, ever stood where I am now before she left England in 1829. Would she have smelled brine sweeping from the sea, her gaze drifting east over the salt marshes green with flat sedge, channels of water running between them? If she lifted her eyes, would she have seen a flock of starlings spiralling?
An essay on how my research on Georgiana Molloy’s life has intertwined with mine. You can read the rest of the essay at the Sydney Review of Books.