A flood of thoughts

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

About two years ago, I was caught up in the floods in Australia. As I watched nature’s fury unleased through Hurricane Sandy in the US, it brings back the memories of the shock that comes when you are powerless to do anything but watch the waters rise.

In 2010 it just didn’t stop raining, and hard. In Queensland the rivers and tributaries broke their banks and hurtled toward homes like an inland Tsunami. In NSW, where I am, the floodwaters were gentle in comparison, but just as destructive. I can remember wading waist deep in floodwaters, treading on household items that were floating through the house. In our beautiful rumpus room, with its tallow wood floorboards, the water gurgled up through the cracks. Our fridge floated through the kitchen and into the loungeroom.

In the downstairs bedroom, I remembered a box of photos stored in the corner. I ran to try and retrieve the memories but when I picked up the box, the bottom fell out and the photos and negatives spewed into the floodwater. I tried hard to save as much as I could, but it took just 40 odd minutes for the house to be swamped. When I thought I could do no more, that I was spent, I saw the young face of my teenage son’s best friend. He smiled and simply asked: “Do you need a hand”. Over the next 15 minutes we managed to save an expensive stereo system, antique crockery and several televisions.

Later, watching the Queensland floods, I knew we were the lucky ones. We have an upstairs part of the house that stayed dry and we were able to relocate a fair portion of our household items. But a lot went too – every single piece of furniture that could not be moved was lost, including lounges, chairs, tables, lamps, beds. The worst of all, was the loss of my baby grand piano. That broke my heart and made me cry.

But we were lucky. We had upstairs to retreat to as the floodwaters rose, and we were safe. We fired up the generator on the balcony and boiled a kettle and ate some biscuits as the floodwaters made getting out impossible. It was OK, we would clean up, assess the damage and repair it.

Throughout our ordeal, I noticed a calm fortitude descend – I was determined to be positive. That positiveness enabled me to put one foot in front of the other in the months ahead.

It was a long renovation and rebuild after the floods. It took us one year to rip out the walls, rebuild frames, put the walls back on, paint and furnish. We redid the kitchen completely and the downstairs bathroom. We shopped for new furniture and eventually we got back to normal. It was only months after, when the river began to rise again and another flood threatened that I came close to knowing what it feels like when bad luck keeps stricking. We didn’t flood that time. The Gods were smiling.

There will be many people in the US, and indeed over the world, that will be dealing with the fallout from disasters – floods and earthquakes. They will stay strong because they have to. My thoughts are with them.

 

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