Beach Storm

Thunderous rains and cyclonic winds
batter the coast with savage fury,
sweeping through the streets
like a howling ghost.
Candlelight a necessity,
not mere romance,
we’re huddling together,
dogs on our laps.

Fighting for freedom,
the roof flaps up and down
like a bird in flight.
The entire house is now
almost airborne,
flying around the world
before it’s nailed back down.
A window breaks.
A tree falls down.
We cling to each other
in absolute terror.

Ocean Beach, Umina. The surf here is usually fairly calm so this churning mass is quite exceptional!

Ocean Beach, Umina. The surf here is usually fairly calm so this churning mass is quite exceptional!

Lashing out with violent force,
the surf pounds in the distance.
A woman scorned, perhaps…
She’s smashing the beach
with a vengeance.
Violent waves blast through
the slumbering dunes,
savagely ripping ancient tea trees
out by their fibrous roots.
Dumping their spoils
on the beach like useless junk,
there is no mercy.

Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.

Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.

With unrelenting fury,
the waves plough on.
The greedy ocean devouring
mouthful after gluttonous mouthful
of scrumptious sand.
All those glorious, golden Summers,
brutally stripped away
without a tear.
The beach is now a graveyard,
strewn with fallen trees.

Taking photos at the beach after the storm.

Taking photos at the beach after the storm.

My morning ritual,
I walk the dogs along the beach,
photographing the carnage.
Brutal, yet beautiful,
those gnarled and twisted silhouettes
glorified in 6 x 4.
oblivious to destruction,
the dogs feast
on a smorgasbord of sniffs
and persistently chases
another dog’s ball.

Bilbo wasn't too sure about the beach disappearing, after all!

Bilbo wasn’t too sure about the beach disappearing, after all!

Strong waves still devouring the shore,
more questions are now being asked.
Sand dunes are steadily disappearing,
the road now lies in its path.
Should we step-in?
Somehow reign in
this surging, unpredictable force?
Seal it tight in a jar
where it can’t move?
Can not escape?
Must sit perfectly still!
Convert it into a swimming pool,
with “No Running” signposted
around the edge?

Ocean Beach, Umina after the storms

Ocean Beach, Umina after the storms

I don’t know.
But as much as I try to rein in
the surging storm within;
build up my walls,
hold my breath in;
I start dying.
An empty shell.
The light in my eyes goes out.
There’s nobody home.

Bird in the Clouds

Bird in the Clouds

If only I could rewind time.
Learn how to ride the wave.
Step out taking more risks.
Move more intuitively,
with the rise and fall of the sea,
instead of fencing everything in!
Then, I could finally soar
above it all.
Be a bird flying free.
After all, even King Neptune
couldn’t tame the sea.

Miss in the dunes.

Miss in the dunes.

Yet, soon Winter will end.
Once Summer begins,
I know we’ll soon forget
there ever was a storm.
The sand will come back.
New trees will grow.
Surfers will hit the waves.
Thousands of feet will leave
their footprints in the sand.
Parents will nudge reluctant toddlers
wrapped around their legs,
to brave the waves.
Dogs will run along the beach
chasing balls and sticks,
feasting on fresh scents,
swimming, rolling in the sand
then dumping the beach in the car.
Melting ice creams and sticky fingers.
Someone is always getting sunburnt
and another freckle finds a face.

Aren't those incredible clouds so mesmerising!

Aren’t those incredible clouds so mesmerising!

Yet, as I look up into the sand dunes
searching for that patch of shade,
the storm lives on.

Our trees are still gone.

Written Thursday 25th June, 2015 in between appointments at Royal North Shore Hospital. It’s interesting what crosses your mind at certain times. There I was writing poetry about the beach in the middle of a concrete box in Sydney, which is hardly an inspirational space, even though they’ve done their best to de-hospitalise the place. I wasn’t feeling unduly stressed before the procedure as I’d had it before although I was justifiably concerned about getting back in time to pick up the kids from After School Care. Had to leave before I got the results and ended up having to self-discharge as things dawdled on.
Not that I’m intending to whinge but because of my lung damage and cough, they were too light on with the anesthetic and I was awake for the procedure, which was ghastly. No silver linings there else that it’s over!!

By the way, the storm photo which I’ve used for my featured image was taken at Palm Beach during a previous storm. There was no way we could take photos down at the beach at the height of the storm, although we did go down during a lull the next day.

After not being walked for two days on account of the procedure, the dogs are muttering about staging some kind of protest, even a revolution. Good job I keep them well fed and patted!

To read about the storm, click here: and

You might also enjoy a similar poem: “The Surfer’s Dog” here:

xx Rowena

24 thoughts on “Beach Storm

  1. Barbara In Caneyhead

    Funny, but yet, maybe the beach was your safe place to go to in your mind before the procedure. I do hope all is well.

    I know here in Texas when Ike wiped out everything on the beaches at Bolivar Peninsula, that was devastating. But even so, it left the water a more pristine, lovely shade of green then it had been in many years. It seems to me that storms that bring so much destruction to man and man made things seems to actually renew the earth itself.

    There’s an old Hwy 87 that run all along the coast here. For many years, it’s been broken and washed away with only one end accessible. Now there is talk of rebuilding it.

  2. New Journey

    Isn’t it beautiful after a storm…..nature acts like she was ever angry, I can almost hear her say…”What, who me, blow over the trees and wash out the beach, you must be mistaken!!” I lived on the Pacific Ocean in Northern Washington state and some of my happiest memories were beach combing after storms….way back when the Japanese used glass balls to hold up their fishing nets we would find them strewn around the logs and seaweed…our beaches up North in Washington had logs piled up on them, it was a lot of fun…one time the foam was so deep if you stepped off a log you were lost in the foam….what fun….really enjoyed your words and pictures…..what a beautiful country….

  3. merrildsmith

    Hope you’re OK! Incredible photos!
    We had a huge storm and tornados here in S. Jersey this week. We were very lucky in our little town that there was no real damage, but many of my friends have been with electricity for a few days.

  4. roweeee Post author

    That storm was back in April but the ocean is still eroding the beach and we are getting concerned about the threat to the road. I’ll have to walk by the road and get some photos from that perspective.

  5. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Merril. Tornados sounds particularly scary. We don’t get them here and they really fill us with horror. I also find the randomness of the damage they could so freaky where once house is spared while the one next door has been flattened. We get a bit of that with our extreme bush fires. The people affected find it very difficult to get to grips with that.
    It’s another beautiful day here today and I’m shoving the rest of the family out the door to the beach to walk the dogs but mainly for them to get off their electronic devices and get some exercise and sun…a more natural approach to dealing with some of those moods!
    By the way, have you seen a movie “JUlie & JUlia” about a girl who cooks all of Julia Child’s recipes over a year and wrote about it on her blog? I’d imagine you would have tried “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child? Have some thoughts? I’m going to get this book, despite decluttering and sending recipe books out the door. That movie really got me hooked! Hope you have a fabulous weekend! xx Rowena

  6. Norah

    Beautiful words and pictures. I like the way you have linked the storm waging outside to the storm within, each causing their own destruction.
    I hope your treatment makes for good improvement. The procedure doesn’t sound pleasant if not sufficiently under. There’s a lot to juggle with health, family, pets, and beach . . .
    I found the two verses from “I don’t know But as much . . . even King Neptune couldn’t tame the sea” particularly poignant and moving. Lovely work, and a great expression of your feelings and understanding of life. Thanks for sharing.

  7. merrildsmith

    We’re not in a tornado zone, so they’re not common here. We’ve had trees knocked down during thunderstorms and high wines though.

    My daughters and I saw Julie & Julia when it first came out in the theaters (had lunch first!). I love Julia Child, and I used to watch her show. And this:

    I’ve tried some recipes, but I certainly haven’t gone through the book. I also don’t eat meat, so there’s that. 🙂

  8. roweeee Post author

    I could just see you watching this movie, especially with your daughters, Merril. That’s why I thought I’d mention it to you. As usual, you have managed top extend my humble understandings and send me on a new journey. That web site was fabulous and I loved the adjustments they made to her oven so she could make French bread. Her husband was such a gem.
    I have ordered a copy of the book and Julie Powell’s book and can’t wait for them to turn up. In the meantime, I’m steadily cooking my way through 12 punnets of raspberries I bought on special this week. I’ve made a Raspberry cheesecake, Raspberry and White Chocolate muffins and am searching for ideas. Raspberries are in the luxury department here unless frozen but every now and then you can get them cheaply. My next effort is going to be raspberry sauce. Hope you are having a great weekend. You know it’s funny here because it’s been quite a mild Winter but then it gets into the afternoon and suddenly it’s dark and you sort of forget we’re in the middle of Winter.
    xx Rowena

  9. roweeee Post author

    It was two days because I did a fair bit of work on it yesterday. I know the experience of writing my blog and having that regular commitment has really helped my writing. Before I started the blog three years ago, I used to visit my friend in her shop down the street and show her my poetry and she’d tell me to get it finished but I’d keep fiddling with the words and never seemed to quite get there. Or, I finished a few but it took a long time. I am so proud of myself for pushing through and getting this one out there without procrastinating or being hard on myself. I also do tend to let my poems “stew: for a bit but I wanted to get it out there and decided I could rework it later if I wanted to revisit it.
    Will need to chase up those test results next week. Not expecting anything more than heartburn but we’ll see. It was fairly routine. Thanks very much for your thought, though. Much appreciated! xx Rowena

  10. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much Norah. I really appreciate your well-thought out comments.
    I came across references to King Neptune in accounts of crossing the Equator in sailing ships. For those sailors and even passengers who had never “crossed the line” before, they had quite a range of rituals, which includes sailors dressing up as King Neptune. It’s been a year since I researched that and it deserves a post. On eof my ancestors was an Able -Seaman onboard during his voyage to Australia back in 1854. xx Rowena

  11. roweeee Post author

    I know what you mean about the cleansing power of storms. I remember how absolutely clean the air was after the storm, like it had been purified.
    The beach could well have been my safe place or escape before the procedure. As much as I’m used to hospitals and I know the place pretty well, I’d still rather be somewhere else.
    I Googled your Hwy 87 and it looked like a photographer’s paradise with all that rustic destruction…like our beach. That said such damage can be quite heartbreaking xx Rowena

  12. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much.
    I’ve seen the foam like that myself but further up the coast around Byron Bay or further North near the Queensland border. It was incredible!!
    I Googled those glass Japanese floats and they look amazing and it would have been wonderful to find them on the beach and I’m intrigued you had logs on your beaches.
    I do a bit of beach combing myself, although it’s mainly visual through my camera lens. Every day is new some fresh treasure just waiting to be found and appreciated.

  13. merrildsmith

    I”m glad you liked the Web site. Julia Child was such an interesting person. I love raspberries! Yum. The local blueberries should be out here soon–NJ is a big blueberry growing area.

    I have page proofs to finish and wedding stuff to do, so no special cooking/baking things for me–well, homemade pizza tonight. . .and cookies and bread later during the week. 🙂

  14. roweeee Post author

    I went on a blueberry frenzy last year. I usually put them in my smoothies but ventured out and make pancakes and a few slices.
    I don’t know if you get Masterchef in the States but it’s one of those competition cooking shows and it’s currently running here. I am finding it incredibly amazing and inspirational and it really inspires me to lift my game and has unconsciously made me more conscious of my ingredients and techniques.
    It was funny the other day because I made a raspberry cheese cake for the first time and after watching a few of the disasters on the show, I half expected the cheesecake to overflow as soon as I unlatched the clip on the tin. It was fine although my idea of using macadamia nuts in the crust wasn’t so good as their flavour was too strong. Will have another go next week. I can’t wait for my Julia Childs cookbook to arrive and I’m going to make the Beef Bourguignon. I know you’re vegetarian but having seen the reaction to it in the movie, it looks divine.
    Hope all the proofing and wedding plans go well. How long until the wedding? It’s funny with weddings because you get so excited beforehand and there’s all that preparation but then they’re over. I guess that’s what anniversaries are for! Take care xx Ro

  15. merrildsmith

    When the girls were here I used to make lots of muffins, cakes, and pies. I love all sorts of berries!
    It’s funny, but I don’t really watch cooking shows.
    Good luck with your cheesecakes and beef bourguignon!

  16. Norah

    Thanks for sharing that information. A post about it would be interesting. You have some fascinating family history to share also. 🙂

  17. Pingback: Beach Bandaid. | beyondtheflow

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