And then the floods

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After all the talk of floods and cyclones elsewhere in Australia, last night it was our turn here in Melbourne. They called it flash flooding: rain that came down in volumes in only a matter of minutes, and the city was drenched. Our backyard was a swimming pool and many of the streets in valleys and low-lying areas were unpassable.

Our situation is mild compared to places where whole houses have been inundated to their rooftops. The only water that entered our house came through one or two points where the roof had leaked because the plumbers who were supposed to have fixed it last year did not completely seal the flashing.

One or two buckets in strategic places has been enough to hold the flow here, but elsewhere in country Victoria where the rivers have burst their banks, people’s houses have been inundated. The drenching rains and winds for us come in the wake of cyclone Yasi, which ripped a swathe through parts of north Queensland two days ago. It is still rocking its way inwards but has lost much of its force moving from a category five cyclone into a fierce storm.

I felt anxious this morning, uneasy in my gut. Too much water now. When will it end?

Last night I went to the historic house where one of my daughters works as operations manager. She was worried that the place may have been flooded. The house, an old mansion in the inner city was once owned by a dignified family in Melbourne, now all long dead.

The house is spooky at night, my daughter says, hence her need for my company.

There was a function in the restaurant when we arrived, for which I was grateful. There were other people around in the garden, but we soon took ourselves off to the main house and away from the crowd.

It took some fumbling through office drawers for my daughter to find the one old-fashioned key to fit the back door and more keys, again old fashioned, for almost every separate room in the house.

The main leak was near the ballroom. One of the workers for the catering company who organised the event nearby had put down buckets, haphazardly as it turned out because the floor was a river of water. Someone had peeled back the carpets long ago. This room is notorious for leaking, my daughter says, but the Trust has no money or will to fix the roof.

After a twelve-year drought it has not mattered so much till now when the El Nina effect has turned things around, from drought to flood, in what seems like the blink of an eye.

We walked from room to room across the musty carpets, past elaborate furniture displays, all held back by light wooden barriers to deter people from touching. In each room we looked to the ceiling for tell tale signs of cracked wallpaper. We listened for the sound of dripping, the splash of water against hard surfaces.

We found a small drip onto the desk in the room they call the ‘Boudoir’, otherwise all seemed okay. We moved upstairs. No further signs of damage. We used paper towels to mop up the mess, then turned off lights and locked up again. Finally we took up our umbrellas that we had left at the back door and made our way home through the teeming rain.

All the way there and back I had wondered about the ghosts on the property. I did not let myself think too long on these ghosts while I was in the house itself. I did not want to spook myself nor my daughter. She after all works there and there are times, in winter particularly, when she finds herself having to lock up alone in the dark. Lights out and it is indeed a creepy place.

My umbrella brushed against the underbelly of one of the Cyprus trees along the side fence and unleashed a torrent of water over my head. It rolled down the sides of my umbrella like a waterfall.

This time last year we were still hoping for a little more rain, after the first drops fell following twelve years of drought, but now we want it to stop.

Last year I resolved to myself that I would never again complain about rain, as if my complaints had been responsible for keeping the rain away. Now it seems it matters not.

The amount of rain falling in the last twenty-four hours is enough to convince me the weather is impervious to my insults, or to my comments. The weather is its own boss. It is thick skinned. It does not heed the feelings of mere human beings.

Even so, maybe we should pay more attention to the weather. There are patterns. There are signs. We ignore them at our peril.

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72 Comments on And then the floods

  1. Kath Lockett
    February 5, 2011 at 6:47 am (7 years ago)

    So true. My husband spends hours and hours and hours fretting about the guff the climate change denier Andrew Bolt writes in his column and on his blog. "I have to change my sign on name all the time, because he blocks me," he said this morning.

    Yup, Mr Bolt won't post a meteorologist's argument on his blog!

    Reply
  2. Studio Sylvia
    February 5, 2011 at 7:23 am (7 years ago)

    Hi Elizabeth. It certainly was a torrential downpour. Glad that you have not had major damage. Living in Richmond, we weren’t flooded but we have sustained some internal water damage. Well one thing is for sure, our long standing drought is over. Your daughter must have been most appreciative of your company, especially if it is the historic venue of which I am thinking.

    Reply
  3. Ocean Girl
    February 5, 2011 at 9:45 am (7 years ago)

    Hello Elisabeth

    We are having floods too in Malaysia. I am currently in Phuket and there is no rain here. We'll be going home on Monday.

    Hope it does not get worse in Melbourne. Rain is a blessing to me no matter how I look at it. It is "bad" weather when you are on the water but rain can calm down the ocean after the downpour.

    Reply
  4. Christine
    February 5, 2011 at 9:47 am (7 years ago)

    Yes. The rain is continuous just now. The ground is soaked. A few weeks ago my husband drove through floods in Western Victoria during his return from a business trip to Adelaide. Today after a torrential downpour I found myself negotiating a series of flooded intersections along the main street of Bendigo in Central Victoria before, finally, making a right hand turn against the lights so as to get the vehicle out of the water. 'So fine me', I thought as I turned.
    We are not alone though. I hear that Scotland is having some unusually severe snow storms for this time of year.

    Reply
  5. Jim Murdoch
    February 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm (7 years ago)

    Although it’s a misnomer to believe that it rains all the time in Scotland it does rain a lot. Perhaps because of that the towns and cities have been built in such a way that they can cope with it. Flooding is not unheard of and I have memories of the town green being flooded on the few occasions when the river overflowed its banks and I can also remember the field opposite our house being completely underwater but it never crossed the road to invade our back garden. And that is it. Snow had always been the thing that Nature has had most success with against us Scots and there have been a few occasions when I’ve been unable to make it into work because of it. This doesn’t mean I’ve never experienced floods although in each instance human women were to blame and not Mother Nature. In the first instance my first wife didn’t close the door of the washing machine properly and we came home to find the living room under water much to my daughter’s delight – she’d be about two at the time – a puddle indoors! She and I had great fun splashing in it before the serious business of sorting it out began. The other two happened in this flat and I have my neighbour’s daughter to blame for one of them at least: one day there was a burst pipe and our water supply was cut off so the girl (she’s about four) went round and turned on all the taps to see if there was any water in any of them. They went shopping, the water came back on and it wasn’t long before we were feeling the effects down below and even with my best efforts to halt the flow so was my neighbour below me. Luckily she arrived home before too long.

    I was not brought up to believe in ghosts and although I happily watch films with ghosts in them I treat them in exactly the same way as I do films with aliens or vampires. I have a rational fear of the dark, a fear of tripping or bumping into something, a fear of being injured. At home where I know where everything is I happily toddle around in the pitch dark at night but I would be uncomfortable doing the same in a strange place like the one you describe. As a child I do remember two times when I experienced real fear and both were when I was wandering around deserted buildings after dark which I was prone to do. I remember being afraid but not of anything. I just didn’t feel safe. It wasn’t the buildings because I was happy enough being there when I would see, it was simply the fact that it was so dark I couldn’t see anything. My fear there wasn’t a rational one – I went into fight-or-flight mode and chose to flee – but it was real even if I was embarrassed by it because I knew I was being silly; there was really nothing to be afraid of unless I did something stupid like start running around and increasing the possibility of hurting myself.

    Reply
  6. JeannetteLS
    February 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm (7 years ago)

    Here in Connecticut in the USA, the media hammer us about how our roofs will collapse if we do not buy rakes. We rant at the water leaking around some window panes. And very little is broadcast about Australia, though some of us have looked for stories… we read online instead.

    It is devastating, what so many there are going through. My son and I decided to shut up about a little water. That's all it is. And, ooooooh, how horrible, we may get a few inches of water in the basement if rains hit hard before the three and a half feet of snow and ice have melted to a manageable level.

    We are not used to six foot snowbanks and driving through tunnels, but we can drive. And no one has died. And no one is homeless because of all this snow.

    God, or the Powers that Be, be with the people whose homes are underwater, who need to get somewhere and cannot, whose lives have been turned inside out by the storms, the flooding where you are.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. SO many people's lives in peril and chaos in the world just now. I am lucky. I wish they would broadcast your troubles more–people elsewhere in this country could truly empathize and perhaps HELP.

    Enough. Your entry was haunting–and no, it isn't because of the speculation, it's because of the beauty and compassion and THOUGHT behind it all. I treasure your blog and am so glad I have found it through others. I hope your luck holds through all this.

    Reply
  7. TaraDharma
    February 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm (7 years ago)

    ah, a spooky place indeed! Good thing you gals did the water check, though. That's excellent care-taking.

    I sit in a sunny perch, watching the world get flooded, snowed upon, iced and deep freezed. It is a odd feeling, but thank gawd for now I am out of it. I know all too well it could change on a dime.

    Reply
  8. Robert the Skeptic
    February 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm (7 years ago)

    Being a "rationalist" I do not believe in ghosts or spooks. Yet I do get that creepy feeling sometimes in an old house or dark gothic location. That emotion is difficult to shake.

    Reply
  9. steven
    February 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm (7 years ago)

    elisabeth – poor australia has suffered so much in the recent past. steven

    Reply
  10. Marylinn Kelly
    February 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm (7 years ago)

    Our news just reported this morning on Melbourne's flooding. I'm glad that you are safe and reasonably dry. Australia has been in my thoughts, especially as everyone waited for Yasi to make landfall. There ARE patterns. In Southern California, where I have lived, mostly, for 65 years, memories seem short when it comes to flooding. Areas have been developed in which high-water lines were clearly visible when I was younger. The rains eventually return, sometimes with fury. There are signs.

    Reply
  11. June Calender
    February 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm (7 years ago)

    Since I have a long time friend in a Melbourne suburb and do not keep in regular touch, I was interested to read of your torrents. So much seems unusual this season in both hemispheres. Here in the US Northeast [as well as in the Midwest] blizzard after blizzard and unusually cold temperatures have been the pattern of winter.

    I think many people who pooh-poohed climate change are rethinking their stance, especially if they pay attention to what's happened in Australia as well as the US and Europe. In that respect having worldwide news coverage always available is a good thing. Perhaps people will more viscerally understand that we are one planet and have been affected extraordinarily albeit in different ways. Thanks for the vivid description of your weather problems.

    Reply
  12. just jane
    February 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm (7 years ago)

    Elisabeth I am glad to hear that your home is safe. I understand how tedious the weather can be. I long for the smell of rain. It is a balmy 25 degrees f. here. Insert smile here! Cold, but beautiful. Stay dry, and keep your spirits high!

    Reply
  13. angryparsnip
    February 6, 2011 at 1:53 am (7 years ago)

    So happy to hear that besides a few leaks you are fine and have missed most of the bad weather.
    I have been following the weather news on the internet ! The videos are quite unbelievable.

    Stay safe and dry…

    cheers, parsnip

    Reply
  14. Laoch of Chicago
    February 6, 2011 at 3:59 am (7 years ago)

    Ugh, this is the horror of global warming. Be careful.

    Reply
  15. Rachel Fenton
    February 6, 2011 at 6:08 am (7 years ago)

    It's tempting to think there's some greater reason to bad weather of such a scale, but nature is unpredictable. Patterns there may be, certainties there are not. I really feel for everyone suffering from the floods and their aftermath.

    Reply
  16. Glenn Ingersoll
    February 6, 2011 at 7:04 am (7 years ago)

    Evocative writing. Glad you're okay.

    One winter in the town where I grew up we briefly became an island – that is, the main roads into town were all flooded. My house was in no danger but our basement flooded, seepage up through the unsealed concrete. The land along rivers is often beautiful, so tempting to build there. Especially if it seems merely a sleepy stream. We ignore all sorts of signs and pay attention to the others, the ones that say to us, things are fine today, surely that's the way they were meant to be!

    Reply
  17. Frances
    February 6, 2011 at 7:13 am (7 years ago)

    Oh Elisabeth: frightened of ghosts, and you brought up by the nuns?
    Our nuns explained to us that as once you were in hell you were there forever and there was no escape, therefore any ghost had to be a good soul. Q.E.D. Girlish panic of the boarders over.

    Too many intelligent, sceptical people have reported on after-death interactions for me to feel free to dismiss such.

    Reply
  18. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 7:57 am (7 years ago)

    I can understand why some people choose to listen to the likes of Andrew Bolt, Kath. Such rigid black and white thinking makes it all seem so much easier to live.

    Denial, as they say, is the most primitive and inadequate of defenses.

    As I have said before, it's like standing in the middle of the road facing in one direction, while from the opposite direction a bus approaches.

    You might be able to convince yourself that the coast is clear ahead, but if you don't look behind you're likely to be run over by said bus. To me this could well be the fate of the climate change naysayers, unless they turn around.

    Thanks, Kath.

    Reply
  19. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:00 am (7 years ago)

    You know the venue, I suspect, Sylvia from what you say here. It's not so far from us all.

    I'm glad that you too did not suffer too much damage from the storm. As you say, at least the drought's over now, at least for the time being.

    Thanks, Sylvia.

    Reply
  20. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:01 am (7 years ago)

    Floods are everywhere, it seems, Ocean Girl, or snow storms, or droughts, or all other manner of extremes. They are cyclical though, and hopefully if we take care, we'll be okay in the long run.

    Thanks Ocean girl.

    Reply
  21. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:05 am (7 years ago)

    There's such a coincidence, here Christine: you mention conditions in Scotland and Jim Murdoch from Edinburgh pips in with a post.

    I doubt you'd be fine for a u-turn in such conditions. Who'd be looking anyhow.

    Life alwtys takes on differnt dimension in crises, not that anything goes, but the old rules don't necessarily apply.

    Thanks Christine. I hope you're dry.

    Reply
  22. Vatche
    February 6, 2011 at 8:08 am (7 years ago)

    Every time it's hot down here in California, I wish for the rain. When the rain comes, I wish for the sun. I'm never satisfied with the weather and perhaps, the weather is never satisfied with me either.

    I always love the rain only when I'm stuck inside with my family and friends and have something to do like watching an old movie or reading a book.

    Write on and interesting post, Elisabeth!

    Reply
  23. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:13 am (7 years ago)

    The floods you describe – the women made floods – sound dreadful, though amusing in retrospect.

    I certainly don't in my mind associate Scotland with floods. I associate it with snow and cold and heather on craggy hills. The odd cold castle thrown in for good measure. It's all the Lorna Doone type books I've read over the years.

    I don't believe in ghosts per se, Jim, but I like to think of haunting as a feature of the history of a place, the spirit of those who preceded us living on, especially in places not occupied for long periods of time.

    The house we live in here is over one hundred years old but because we live in it daily I don't associate it with ghosts, though I suspect I would if we had not left our mark. We've renovated a number of times.

    When my husband found someone's old wedding ring in the fire place after he had unearthed it to make way for a new one, I felt the presence of the past. I often think about the sorrow of the woman who once lost this ring.

    Thanks, Jim

    Reply
  24. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:21 am (7 years ago)

    Jeanette, you're too kind by half. I'm glad to hear that you're not living in a disaster zone. Nor are we.

    For a few minutes on Friday night I thought we might be, but the crisis passed quickly for us. It's not been the same story for others here in parts of Australia – cyclones, floods and now again the ubiquitous summer bushfires.

    Here, mainly in country Victoria, the ones whose homes and businesses have been inundated will take ages to recover.

    I think we need to get these things into perspective, as you suggest but it's important also to recognise our own struggles as well.

    I have had a tendency in the past to be a bit Pollyanna Like. These days I try to be more honest, both about the good things and the bad.

    I don't want to fall too heavily on either side. There's always a bright side to every situation, just as there are dark sides. The thing to do, if we can, is to integrate them and learn from our experiences, both good and bad.

    Thanks Jeanette.

    Reply
  25. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:23 am (7 years ago)

    I like the sound of your 'sunny perch', TaraDharma, however odd it might seem to you looking out onto a world pock marked with disaster.

    It would be dreadful indeed if every single on of us were crippled by the impact of immediate disasters. We need to know there are people like you, whose lives are okay, from time to time, otherwise we'd all go under.

    Thanks, TaraDharma.

    Reply
  26. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:26 am (7 years ago)

    Even rationalists like you Robert, get spooked sometimes. You're a skeptic not a person who claims to know everything after all.

    Doubts can be frightening and I'm glad to see you have them, along with your occasional fears.

    Thanks, Robert

    Reply
  27. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 8:28 am (7 years ago)

    Australia has a history of suffering, in more ways than one, Steven, but we also mamage well enough, at least some of us do.

    I should not speak for those like our indigenous people who continue to suffer despite everything we've ever learned, along with our refugees. We don't have a good track record there. Thanks, Steven

    Reply
  28. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:26 am (7 years ago)

    It's so tempting to build along the river's edge, and along the sea shore, Marylinn, but as you say there are signs. We ignore them and suffer the consequences, here in Australia and elsewhere. Even so, there rare times when there seems to be no warning, as happened here on Friday night and for us it was relatively tame compared for how it was for those in the eye of
    Yasi's fury. At least there were no lives lost because people heeded the warnings and decamped to safer ground.

    Thanks, Marylinn.

    Reply
  29. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:29 am (7 years ago)

    We all live on the same planet, June. Your front yard is our back yard and vice versa and so I agree with you news of what happens here impacts on your sensibilities just as what happens to you impacts on ours.

    I hope yor Australian friend is okay.

    Thanks, June.

    Reply
  30. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:32 am (7 years ago)

    Thanks Just Jane. I had to reorient my mind in your comment. You measure you weather in Fahrenheit. For us 25 degrees is positively perfect, but 25 Celsius is about 75 – 80 Fahrenheit as I recall. And 25 degrees Fahrenheit to me is cold.

    Thanks, Jane.

    Reply
  31. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:35 am (7 years ago)

    The footage of the floods is amazing, Parsnip, as you say, especially the unexpected torrent that ran through the main street of Toowoomba a couple of weeks ago. And the damage from cyclone Yasi is something else again.

    Thanks, Parsnip. I'm glad news of our climatic crisis has reached the rest of the world. It helps somehow to share the burden.

    Thanks, Parsnip.

    Reply
  32. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:36 am (7 years ago)

    Global warming alright Laoch, and cyclical climate extremes. It's scary indeed.

    Thanks, Laoch.

    Reply
  33. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:38 am (7 years ago)

    I agree on the unpredictability of nature Rachel. The patterns are not absolutes. They give us signs but there's still always the unexpected and often times things don't work out as badly as we might have anticipated.

    Thanks, Rachel.

    Reply
  34. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 am (7 years ago)

    It's strange how a sleepy stream can become a raging torrent, Glenn, but it happens.

    It must have been scary for you to have your town become an island. At least your house, bar your basement, was spared, but even a flooded basement can be problemtaic.

    Thanks, Glenn.

    Reply
  35. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2011 at 10:44 am (7 years ago)

    I don't remember our nuns teaching us this, Frances, but if it worked so be it. Ghosts are good souls. I don't think of them as malevolent, myself, only scary, maybe more so because they remind us of the inevitability of death.

    Thanks, Frances.

    Reply
  36. Marja
    February 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh it is horrible feeling if you are at the mercy of mother nature.Happy you're ok. We were evacuated once in Holland when the dikes along the river nearly broke. I hope you all get some peace.
    The weather has been extreme all over the world and I have a feeling that this will continue.

    Reply
  37. Antares Cryptos
    February 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm (7 years ago)

    Hello Elisabeth.

    As promised, I came by for a visit. Thank you for your comment. As far as writing addictions go, it just is.

    The weather is in all of our collective consciousness, you might find my recent blog mildly amusing.

    Sorry to hear that you had a difficult time leaving a comment for Laoch, not sure what happened, but all is well that ends well.

    Nice to meet you too.

    Reply
  38. Ruth
    February 7, 2011 at 11:14 am (7 years ago)

    I'm grateful, Elisabeth, that your situation is not dire, and that the historic house is fine too. We have had our big winter storm this past week, and thankfully it was the perfect storm in the sense that very little damage and few traffic accidents resulted. It's extraordinary what's happening in Australia, drawn on for so long now. I wish everyone in your country well and pray that the weather will settle down soon.

    Reply
  39. Ms. Moon
    February 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm (7 years ago)

    Whenever the normal patterns of weather are disturbed, it disturbs our internal weather, as well, I think. I find this to be true.
    This was a beautiful piece of writing, Elisabeth, and took me right there from the old house to the waterfall from the cedar tree.
    Thank you for it.

    Reply
  40. Kass
    February 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm (7 years ago)

    In Chinese Medicine and some New Age Cultures, water is the emotional element. It's interesting to note how we deal with floods of both water and emotions.

    Glad you're able to manage your unruly weather.

    Reply
  41. Okie
    February 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm (7 years ago)

    Wow…what a gorgeous post. So vibrant and emotional. It's hauntingly beautiful.

    Reply
  42. Jane Kennedy Sutton
    February 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm (7 years ago)

    I’ve been through a few Florida hurricanes, so I’ve seen the devastation they can do. I’m glad you came through with only a couple of leaks.

    That old house sounds like a wonderful setting for a ghost story. Too bad there’s no money for repairs.

    I agree that we should be paying more attention to these weird weather patterns – Mother Nature doesn’t like to be ignored.

    Reply
  43. Antares Cryptos
    February 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm (7 years ago)

    P.S. I meant the "Gaia's Revenge" post.

    Reply
  44. Phoenix
    February 7, 2011 at 10:48 pm (7 years ago)

    I am always slightly amused at how the human race treats weather – like a god, almost reverently, or like a demon, very superstitiously. We always act as if the actions we take towards this planet do not directly come back to visit us via the weather, as if it were some fickle entity that we have no control over and bear no responsibility for. But as you said at the end of your post – there are patterns. It is not the gods nor the demons that punish us with the weather – it is ourselves. What goes up must come down, what goes around comes around, and we will continue to pay the price for what our corporations do to this planet until we change our ways.

    We ignore them at our peril, indeed.

    Reply
  45. rauf
    February 8, 2011 at 4:18 am (7 years ago)

    oh what an idea to control nature and the weather and to drag poor God into it. Some times i feel the need for a God as we have to put the blame of creation on somebody. Believe me i want to see the boss of the boss and give him a piece of my mind or drag him, sorry HIM to a psychiatrist. Besides, i myself have a lot of questions to ask. And sometimes i get very angry when i hear songs or poems on glory of nature. Haven't they seen tsunami ? haven't they seen any horrors of nature ? i ask

    i hate horror movies Elisabeth, my sisters and my niece love them. i just wonder why can't this guy go in day time to the cemetery to dig a grave as shown in Omen movie. Haven't seen many horror movies though. Things look spooky in the nights and as always there would be no power and they use flash lights making the place look more spooky.

    Sorry i am a bit out of sorts and took time to respond to comments, Actually i am always out of sorts Elisabeth.

    Reply
  46. rauf
    February 8, 2011 at 4:21 am (7 years ago)

    like the Animals we humans also were equipped with a warning system. We have lost the ability to our comforts. You don't see animals dying in floods or earthquakes, tsunami, they escape to safety. Only trapped animals in farms die.

    Reply
  47. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 6:01 am (7 years ago)

    From what all the pundits are saying, Marja, these extreme weather events will continue, or is it that we notice them more? It's hard to know.

    I'm sure there is truth to the notion of climate change, but I often wonder how many times in the past, thousands of years ago, climate changes have also ovccurred though for reasons then other than our human imprint.

    There are times when I think we can en asses help recover some balance in the world, and other times when I wonder if it's not all much bigger than humankind.

    Thanks, Marja

    Reply
  48. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 7:27 am (7 years ago)

    Gaia's revenge alright, Antares. It's tempting to think as much. The notion that everything we do has a consequence sits fine with me, but the further idea that underlying powerful forces are arraigned against human kind does not sit so well. Why would it, unless you're paranoid. Thanks, Antares.

    Reply
  49. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 7:31 am (7 years ago)

    I too hope the weather settles down soon, Ruth. You're right about the perfect storm, for humankind at least, as one that does no damage.

    Storms are necessary I suspect as part of the ebb and flow of the elements, but sometimes they can flow just a little too vigorously.

    There's a line in the famous Dorothea McKellar poem, My Country, about Australia as 'a wilful and lavish land'. It seems apt.

    Thanks, Ruth.

    Reply
  50. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 7:33 am (7 years ago)

    I agree, Ms Moon, disturbances to the external weather affect our internal temperatures, for good and ill. Thanks for your generous words here.

    Reply
  51. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 7:35 am (7 years ago)

    We often use weather as metaphors for our emotions, Kass. You're right about that.

    We have been flooded lately and when we are physically flooded we can soon be emotionally flooded.

    Kass thanks, wise words as ever.

    Reply
  52. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 7:36 am (7 years ago)

    Thanks for the kind words, Okie. I'm glad you appreciated this post.

    Reply
  53. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 7:39 am (7 years ago)

    It seems there are two views, Jane: one in which mother nature or Gaia who whoever it is that propels the weather is angry with us and seeks revenge, and another that we are all prey to strange invisible forces over which we can have no control whatsoever, including all pleas for mercy from these forces and gods and whatever. I seem to fling myself between the two, much like the weather.

    Thanks, Jane.

    Reply
  54. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 9:47 am (7 years ago)

    As I just said to Jane, Phoenix, I too fluctuate between ascribing almost supernatural powers to the weather, as if it's got it in for us, and recognising that it's more 'scientific' than that.

    Thanks again for a wonderful comment. You are so eloquent, it's always a treat to read your words.

    Reply
  55. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2011 at 9:53 am (7 years ago)

    Such interesting thoughts, Rauf, especially from one who is 'out of sorts'.

    I agree with you about our tendency to blame weather and god and then not reconsider that such a 'boss', as you put it needs a good talking to.

    These tendencies towards omnipotent beliefs whether in nature or ourselves seem to me to be a throw back to our helplessness as babies.

    As for the animals, I suspect as do you: they have a much better intuition about how to handle the dangers of floods and fires. As you say, only the ones we humans trap are the ones who most likely perish.

    Thanks, Rauf.

    Reply
  56. Eryl
    February 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm (7 years ago)

    Twelve years of drought, now this; it all sounds incredibly biblical. It looks like our golden age of belief that we can control nature is pretty much over. Time to think of new ways we can live alongside it.

    Reply
  57. little hat
    February 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm (7 years ago)

    Rain indeed Elisabeth. It rained most of the day yesterday in Brisbane. At first it felt normal. Like sunny days were the abberation. I welcomed it and its comforting gray sky. By the end of the day though I was ready to bid it farewell. Others, i believe, are less welcoming. People whose houses went under are lying awake at night in a state of high anxiety at the sound of raindrops on their tin roofsSome. Once the sound of drought breaking, now the sound of possible disaster.
    Only time will tell if the world is changing permanently or if we are merely experiencing the wild ride that nature occassionally sends our way.

    Reply
  58. Alberto Oliver
    February 9, 2011 at 7:14 am (7 years ago)

    Thanks for all Elisabeth. You know I wish you, always, the best. And all the blessings of life, for you. We will see us again, I dont know if soon or when, but certainly, I know I will be alright some day.

    Thanks, again, for all. Keep well and lots of happiness for you, today and ever.

    Yours:

    /Alberto

    Reply
  59. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2011 at 10:09 am (7 years ago)

    It sounds biblical alright, Eryl, but whatever it is, it needs some clear thinking from all of us throughout the world to be able to deal with it on an ongoing basis. And dealing with it does not presuppose assuming we can control, rather that we establish more preparedness in so far as it's possible, as well as a change in our unhelpful behaviours, namely that we seek to minimise our footprint, within reason. Gasp – that's too long a sentence.

    Thanks, Eryl

    Reply
  60. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2011 at 10:12 am (7 years ago)

    I agree Little Hat, only time will tell, whether this is a mere cyclical aberration or whether something more fearsome and ongoing is at stake. Whatever, it helps to consider it.

    I hope the rain stops for you folks Brisbane and beyond, enough to give space for a clean up.

    Thanks, Little Hat.

    Reply
  61. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2011 at 10:15 am (7 years ago)

    Alberto, even as you leave the blogosphere and stop blogging yourself for a time, I hope you find the heart and the time to visit me again from time to time.

    But please do not feel any pressure. You must go off as you see fit.

    I will be delighted to see you again, whenever the mood takes you. Stay safe and well, Alberto. I shall miss you. And thank you for all your generous comments here on my blog and for your wonderful work elsewhere on yours.

    Reply
  62. Stafford Ray
    February 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm (7 years ago)

    GW Bush would have had the solution. "Climate change is nothing to be afraid of. We'll build a very big umbrella out in space that tips all that floodwater into the ocean!"
    Hi Elizabeth, a Queenslander here who was out of harm's way but shed a few tears for my 'neighbours'.

    Reply
  63. KleinsteMotte
    February 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm (7 years ago)

    While some battle rain others too much snow. There are towns in eastern Canada where the snoe is plied higher than 5 feet and when it melts let's pray it will be slowly or there will huge floods. Our earth lately has very extreme weather yet there is still no huge global alarm that a change in energy use is vital for serious change.Sadly we need a whole different life style but capitalism cannot support that using it's current measures of success. Economics rule.

    Reply
  64. Jacoba
    February 11, 2011 at 10:29 am (7 years ago)

    Hi Elisabeth,
    It was a surprise to see you as a follower on my blog. There is a lot to read on your blog, so I have returned the following!
    In the '70s I have visited Australia, so it will be interesting to read your posts.
    I notice that you discuss in the comments area, I hope to find time to follow that also. Still being in the full working process there is not always time for blogging, alas – because it is great fun to enjoy everyone's creativity.
    I understand your interest for Holland with your Dutch background.
    Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Fremantle are the places where I have been – it gave me a far away from home feeling at the time. These days we have become so global though, through internet, skype, etc.
    Have a happy weekend!
    Jacoba

    Reply
  65. Elisabeth
    February 11, 2011 at 10:47 am (7 years ago)

    Stafford, Did Bush really say that? Amazing I say, and then wonder, why be amazed, it's not so surprising. A child's view of the world.

    I'm glad you were out of harm's way in the floods, but as you say, many others weren't and we feel for them, unlike Bush who's perhaps like the stereotype of Marie Antoinette, ill-informed and out of the loop. Thanks Stafford Ray. It's good to meet you here.

    Reply
  66. Elisabeth
    February 11, 2011 at 10:51 am (7 years ago)

    I agree, Kleinstemotte, at the moment it seems economics rule. Maybe in time with enough of these extreme weather events we will come to realise that other things should take precedence, including natural forces and the needs of mankind, the animal kingdom and that thing we call nature.

    Thanks Kleinstemotte.

    Reply
  67. Elisabeth
    February 11, 2011 at 10:57 am (7 years ago)

    It's lovely to meet you here on my blog, Jacoba.

    So you have been to Melbourne – a long time ago, perhaps. I too enjoy the global quality of blogging. We meet people from so many different parts of the world within the blogosphere.

    When my parents migrated to Australia from Holland in the 1950s it was a sad event. In those days it was such a long trip and letters were the only form of correspondence.

    Now, as you say, there are so many other ways of staying in touch, including our blogs.

    Thanks, Jacoba. Yours is such a lovely and strong Dutch name. I look forward to talking more.

    Reply
  68. altadenahiker
    February 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm (7 years ago)

    Through blogging and fellow bloggers, I've grown to love Australia — particularly the east and south coasts, as I know them best. And the flooding and the pictures and the stories break my heart.

    I don't know what people expect to gain by denying the fact of climate change. But I know what they're losing.

    Best, best wishes to you.

    Reply
  69. Linda Sue
    February 11, 2011 at 10:09 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh RAIN I have had enough of it!
    This winter has been entirely too moist!
    When I lived in Melbourne back in the long ago- it did rain- quite a bit- I thought I was back in England! The forest around there was gorgeous from all of the rain- the ferns grew to a monsterous size. Rain – with so much enthusiasm and to be in a spooky old mansion along with it is just too much! Glad you are OK!

    Reply
  70. Elisabeth
    February 11, 2011 at 11:29 pm (7 years ago)

    Lovey to see you here Altadenahiker. I'm glad you're familiar with Australia.

    It is, as you say, a great country and these floods have ripped at the core of some people's hopes and expectations, but we will be able to rebuild, as others have rebuilt elsewhere after equally dreadful disasters.

    And still such disasters devastate those involved and continue to shock us, the bystanders.

    Thanks, Altadenahiker.

    Reply
  71. Elisabeth
    February 11, 2011 at 11:32 pm (7 years ago)

    I remember Melbourne when it used to rain a lot, especially in winter Linda Sue, but in more recent years until this one it grew drier and drier to the point where I began to wonder what a puddle underfoot might feel like.

    Thankfully our puddles are back again and as much as in normal quantities it can seem inconvenient, I rejoice now in the rainfall because I can see more clearly what it's like to live without it.

    Thanks Linda Sue.

    Reply
  72. Sandra
    February 12, 2011 at 5:47 am (7 years ago)

    I agree, funny how "this writing" life is far more important than dirty floors or a sink full of dishes.
    As for the dog, well, maybe someone should inform my two that they are indeed the pets and not the relatives!

    Reply

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