Peter Oliver sings 'The Water Waltz'

Bill Dennison ·
30 April 2014
Science Communication | 

I visited the late Peter Oliver (1957-2012) following his retirement lecture in Brisbane, Australia in August 2012. I stayed with Peter and his wife Ann in their home in Maleny and when Peter was feeling well enough, we would work together on our book 'Dancing with Dugongs: Having fun and developing a practical environmental philosophy for teaching and research'. One afternoon, Peter was at the kitchen table and we were talking about a song that we had collaborated on, which we called 'The Water Waltz'. Peter felt inspired and asked me to go fetch his guitar. After a bit of fooling around, he sang the song which I recorded on my iPad using the iPro Recorder app. So this version of 'The Water Waltz' was not recorded with any fancy recording equipment in a recording studio, but this is my friend Peter strumming his guitar in his kitchen and providing a toned down version of this song, befitting his reflective and somber mood.

The Water Waltz

I bid farewell to Peter on the following day, and he limped out to the driveway to see me off, giving me a big hug and we were both in tears, as we knew this was really "Goodbye". Peter died a few months later, so I will always treasure 'The Water Waltz', sitting at Peter's kitchen table, sharing laughs and tears with this remarkable man.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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