Tag Archives: cyclone

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.
Meanwhile,
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?
Intervene?
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.
Vacant.
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: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/a-drowned-rat-in-the-sydney-storm/ and https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/after-the-sydney-storm/

You might also enjoy a similar poem: “The Surfer’s Dog” here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/poem-the-surfers-dog/

xx Rowena

A Drowned Rat in the Sydney Storm

Welcome to our nightmare.

We have spent the last three days being battered by cyclonic winds and extremely heavy rain. While we didn’t lose power, we’ve had a tree fall on the clothes line. The roofing in the back room started a quest for freedom and Geoff was up on the roof battening down the hatches. A glass panel also broke in the louver windows out the front and he had to stick up a sheet of plastic to keep the rain out. We also went through a staggering cast of towels, which soaked up water flowing in underneath the front door. For awhile there, my computer was even being protected by a beach towel draped over the top like a tent.

Geoff was up the ladder at the height of the storm fixing the roof.

Geoff was up the ladder at the height of the storm fixing the roof.

If you want to get a taste for it and walk in our shoes then:

1) Get a fire hose.Turn it onto full bore.

2) Add an industrial-strength turbo fan.

3) Throw in a bucket of beach sand.

4) Turn these all on at once and stand in front.

5) Have a blast!

Fallen tree branch down the street.

Fallen tree branch down the street.

That describes the physical impact.

However, there’s also the psychological impact…the fear. that deep-seated, incredible fear. The wind is whirling and howling outside with such terrifying force and the house is rattling, shaking and flapping and rain’s getting in places it’s never been before. After all, we live in a house not a leaky sieve! The force of the wind was so strong that I had to push the front door shut to close it. I am still shaking inside, not wanting to venture out and just wanting to wrap myself up in a huge doona and hibernate in the house like a bear. Actually, digging a deep cave underneath the house (something like a tornado shelter)  sounds even better!

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!

That said, we ventured out yesterday afternoon to take some photos around town in between blows. There were fallen trees all over the place and streets and footpaths had been turned into instant duck ponds. At a local park, the shade sail had been savagely torn and was flapping around like a lunatic.Rows of bins had been blown around and were lying beside the road like rows of fallen soldiers. Indeed, our garbage truck had turned up right at the height of the storm and Geoff was out there holding it up so the track’s huge metal arm could lift it up and empty the waste. My goodness. Even that was an ordeal!

I'd do anything for a photo- including venturing out into the rain but Geoff was the wind beneath my wings.

I’d do anything for a photo- including venturing out into the rain but Geoff was the wind beneath my wings.

Just in case you think my penchant for hyperbole has gone into overdrive and my aversion to rain has clouded my judgement, the winds were gusting at up to 135 kph and in places 200 mm of rain fell in less than 24 hours. It was so bad that the kids’ school has been closed for two days. This has never happened before. Business in the area has virtually come to a stand still as well due to blackouts and fallen trees. It’s become something of a war zone.

Rubbish bins thrown around beside the road.

Rubbish bins thrown around beside the road. The sand has been swept in from the beach across the road.

I’m still shaking. Tomorrow, the kids are due back at school and I just don’t know. It doesn’t feel safe. After going through all of this, it’s only natural to want to keep my chicks safe in the nest. Right now, even stepping out the front door still feels terrifying. Dangerous.

Local bins.

Local bins.

Joked to a friend on the eve of the storm that I’d never survive in a cold climate.That I’d be stuck in the house for 9 months of the year. I mean…I even struggle with heavy rain. It’s my kryptonite. However, this was no ordinary rain storm. Even the authorities ordered people to stay indoors and only undertake essential travel. That’s more than rain phobia. It’s a severe storm.

Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.

Shade sail torn to shreds at the local park.

After going through all of this and feeling rather ragged, avoidance is a luxury I don’t have. School’s open tomorrow and I need to get the show back on the road. Throw myself back out the door and put the rattles to rest.

Geoff out in the storm at Ocean Beach.

Geoff out in the storm at Ocean Beach.

It’s all very well to know the importance of confronting your fears and how this actually causes them to shrivel up and die but you still need to take up the challenge. Those aren’t somebody else’s shoes that I need to step into but my own. I’ve conquered mountains but now I simply have to do is step out the door but won’t be easy. That said given the usual morning chaos, I’ll probably be too rushed to even think about fear. Switched to autopilot, I’ll simply do it.

After all, a little bit of rain is hardly the end of the world!

Flags flapping in the storm.

Flags flapping in the storm.

This has been S for Sydney Storm for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.

xx Rowena