Although the world is in mourning after the Paris atrocities, I still feel the need to get together for coffee this weekend. Not out of defiance or as a show of resilience but because I need to be with friends. I want to talk about all of this and what it means. How I was walking the streets on Google Earth last week researching my book and how I can’t understand how this has happened…even though it’s no surprise. Our world is at war but it’s a war with new rules we’re all struggling to understand and work out, collectively and as individuals, how to respond.
Just reminder too, that we live in Greater Sydney, Australia so our time zones here could well be quite different to your own.
However, the week didn’t start or end with Paris so I’m going to rewind a little. Although what happened here probably hasn’t made the news, we’ve had a few storms in our own tea cup and my nerves were well and truly fried before Paris.
Up until Thursday, I’d been making good progress on the Book Project and after 9 years of procrastination, self-doubt and false starts, I’ve finally made progress and it’s been wonderful. I’m almost delirious with joy. Thrilled.
As I mentioned when we had coffee last week, the book starts in Paris in July 1992 when I did a poetry reading at the Shakespeare & Company Bookshop. I was only 21 and didn’t realise at the time how exceptional it was for a young 21 year old writer to get their own gig. After all, I was hardly Hemingway and had self-published my anthology on the photocopier.
For the last two weeks, I’ve moved heaven and earth trying to squeeze back into my 21 year old self and walk those streets again via Google maps.
It’s been an absolutely incredible journey where I’ve been living, breathing and all but eating Paris.
The mood started to change on Thursday when four Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead, just above our roof. This was the beginning of a terrifying ordeal where they were doing low-flying loops over our quiet, regional beach side town. The noise was unbelievable and that alone inspired terror. But what was the army doing here? I’ve never even seen one army helicopter here before. This was very unusual.
Living in a post 9/11 world, we’ve been told to watch out for unattended packages and to report suspicious activity. So, when we saw these four army helicopters doing loop after loop after loop of town, we were naturally concerned…i.e we panicked! The kids were really getting worried and upset and my heart was racing as well.
I rang my husband at work. Of course, my husband is fully capable to handling a national emergency. Daddy can do anything.
When Geoff suggested that there wouldn’t be four army helicopters out there for no reason, that just confirmed my worst fears. I locked the front door and grabbed the laptop. Surely, Google would know.
Well, it turned out to be a false alarm. It was an Army training exercise.
However, those helicopters did seem to herald in the forces of doom.
Friday afternoon, we were hit by an incredible hail storm. Stupid me who thinks “photography” when she sees huge, towering black clouds dripping incredibly menacing tentacles across the sky, headed down to the beach to get some shots. I ended up feeling like I was trapped inside my tin can with huge golf ball-sized lumps of hail pelting against the car just waiting for the windscreen to smash into a million pieces. Meanwhile at home, the hail had smashed through the office roof and rain was pouring in. Indeed, my keyboard was doing laps of my sodden desk.
Despite my medical condition, I was moving out piles of books and computer equipment while our daughter was chasing buckets and strategically placed them round the room. Mister wanted to get up on the roof and then went charging down the street to check on the neighbours as I pointed out that we were in crisis. I called the State Emergency Service and their volunteers saved the day, patching the roof with some corrugated iron sheets from the shed. Order was restored…aside from the mess!
This storm certainly concerned me because its intensity was uncharacteristically strong for around here, a reminder of another global crisis…global warming.
I woke up on Saturday morning, feeling absolutely frazzled. My nerves were literally fried. What with the deafening din of military helicopters, I was wrecked.
Saturday, we somehow managed to get ourselves together and out to the opening of the Scout Hall. It was a fabulous day of celebrating with community and it was fabulous to see such inspirational young people and their leaders learning skills that can help them be trail blazers for their peers.
Then, we arrived home to hear news of Paris.
I am in mourning. The world is in mourning. Can’t imagine what it would be like in Paris , although we experienced terrorism on a small scale in Sydney just over a year ago. Yes, we know that horror and I knew one of the people taken hostage and people who work around Martin Place and had to go back to work and face that horror day after day without knowing if that was the beginning or the end. The courage of the ordinary becomes extraordinary at such times.
Here’s a previous post I wrote in response to Paris: Solidarite: Je Suis Paris https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/solidarite-je-suis-paris/
So, while coffee today might not be very upbeat but coming together at such times, is what coffee and especially that proverbially cup of tea is all about…a welcome cup of healing.
So, this week, I am offering a cup of love, understanding, hugs and even a box of tissues.
I hope and pray that you and yours are okay!
Love and heartfelt blessings,
This blog is part of the Weekend Coffee Share. Here’s the linky: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=582184 I recommend reading Solveig Werner’s post. She lives in Paris: http://solveigwerner.com/2015/11/14/my-heart-is-aching/