Tag Archives: storm

Waiting Out The Storm…

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Nelson Mandela

Yesterday, my daughter and I were caught in a horrific, violent hail storm down the street at the local shops and we were absolutely terrified.  With six sleeps til Christmas and desperately trying to find something, anything for our 14 year old son, we’d trawled through almost every local shop, and were heading back for the car when the storm hit with unanticipated fury. By the time we realized how dangerous it was, it was too late. My daughter was telling me to walk faster, the same way I must’ve done when she was smaller. However, due to muscle weakness in my legs, I couldn’t. I could only go at my own pace. She might’ve only been a step or two ahead, but then she decided to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing, and that was when the hail started to fall. I have an performance enhancement device in my skull (otherwise known as a shunt) and I couldn’t chance it been hit by a hailstone, quite aside from the fact that hail can even kill your average Joe. Well, it’s probably more likely to kill your average Joe teenager, because I saw a few of them running across the road during the storm. Anyway, this all meant that my daughter was across the road by herself, while the sky was throwing a massive tantrum and pelting hail like an angry toddler. Although she’s now 12 and in high school, I knew she was terrified and wanted me with her but it was too dangerous. Fortunately the owner of the $2.00 shop took her under her wing and brought her inside.

As a writer, I know how to dramatize a story, inflating and colouring in the facts in lurid technicolour to ramp things up. However, this storm didn’t need embellishment. It’s terrifying violence and the deafening din of thousands of hailstones beating against the tin roofs of the local shops, spoke for themselves. Indeed, it reverberated through you like the sound of a thousand timpanis all beating at once.  The hail was really pelting down too, seemingly angry and lashing out at the earth. These hail stones ranged in size from about 3cms to tennis balls size around 8cm and some were even shaped like a cauliflower. At 5cm diameter, hail travels at 115kph and at 8cm it’s travelling at 175kph. So when you think about what all of that was doing to my heart rate along with being concerned about my daughter, our son at home and how the car was faring out in the open, a few Italian musical terms come to mind…accelerando, affrettando, prestissimo and forte! Forte! Forte!

Yet, right along the street, there were people photographing the storm with their phones, the same way we also photograph bush fires dazzled by the exquisite beauty of the flames, experiencing the intensity of nature’s fury and also that sense of hovering right on the very brink of destruction. That as much as we might want to turn our back and run, it lures us in…especially anyone passionate about photography or film. We’re in without even considering the cost.

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

dog in the storm

Taken just before the 2015 hail storm hit. Not a good time to walk the dog! It wasn’t one of ours.

This little black duck might’ve got caught out photographing a hail storm at our local beach a few years ago, and a massive rain storm in between. I don’t do this anymore. Well, not on purpose. This time I was simply caught out.

Anyway, naturally the hail stopped and it was safe for me to cross the road, collect my daughter and drive home. This is in the middle of a hot Australian Summer and yet here we were in a magical Winter wonderland. It was an early white Christmas.

However, this has turned into more of a Christmas subtraction for a lot of people, than a Christmas gift. We arrived home to find the roof of the office had been peppered with holes and the rain was getting in. It was nowhere near as bad as the last destructive hail storm three years ago where a tree also fell down. However, the rain was getting in and computers and paperwork were at risk. The car didn’t fare too well either. While we have friends with broken windows or a windscreen, our car is covered in pock marks, especially the bonnet. We’ve only had this car for a few weeks after I drove into a concrete divider in the hospital car park and that car was written off. It seems like I’m not having a good run with cars, although I wasn’t driving this one and the important thing is, that we’re all safe.

Hail2

I must admit that I’ve felt very shaken up by this storm. When you think about the effects of a relaxing massage, this was more like a jack hammer and quite the reverse. I also felt very unsafe walking through the heavy rain and my legs felt quite inadequate and like they couldn’t grip and I was wearing ice skates. I slept through much of today and really didn’t feel like getting out of bed. It felt safe. Fortunately, I didn’t need to go out and I just stayed home to chill out and clean up. It was my daughter’s first day of school holidays and our son’s had a few extra days. Not a great start, and we’ve been trying to see The Grinch. Maybe, tomorrow.

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“Remember, the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.”

Ho Chi Minh

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

Frederick Douglass

After every storm the sun will smile; for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.

William R. Alger

Yet, reading through motivational quotes about storms, I realize that they’re a necessary part of life. That they don’t last forever, and it wasn’t long before the sun came out. However, there’s no denying the damage. You can point to the sun, the rainbow, but you can also point out the smashed windows, terrified people and animals and you can’t just wave a magic wand and it all disappears without a trace. Yet, every time you survive either a physical or psychological storm, you’re better equipped to deal with and overcome the next one. You have experience and you also have this much valued thing called resilience. You don’t get that by sitting in your armchair and watching the storms pass by on TV or your phone.

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“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Rabindranath Tagore

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Sunset after the storm viewed through our Norfolk Pine tree.

How do you feel about storms, both of the weather and psychological variety?

Well, it’s well past my bedtime so it’s time to stop philosophizing and start snoozing.

Best wishes,

Rowena

After the Storm…A Fire in the Sky.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

– Rabindranath Tagore

There’s an element of luck, but also a trained and experienced eye which not only seizes the moment but captures it from a particular perspective which brings out the drama, that sense of theatre and draws the viewer into a compelling story.

Sky on Fire

“Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

Of course, I’m really chuffed about these sunset photos I took last night while we were at the Christmas party at the sailing club. As much as I’ll push the envelope to get the shot, I’ve developed a healthy respect for storms and my days of pursuing menacing, deep purple storm clouds with trailing tentacles are done, after getting caught in a ferocious hail storm down at the beach where my car felt like a flimsy tin can and wondering whether the windscreen was going to hold out while the hail had smashed through the laser light roof over our office at home and the kids were terrified. Thankfully the State Emergency Service (SES) came to the rescue and put up a tarp.

Jonathon & Amelia

Our kids.

This was our second storm in two days and while we were relieved not to have any hail, we arrived home to a blackout and Ausgrid was giving no time estimation on when the power was coming back on. That clearly didn’t look good and with my parents and aunt coming up to visit today and needing to get the house in order, my stress levels soared. Not quite through the roof, but I was definitely considering going down to Sydney instead to let ourselves off the hook. While you should be able to invite family into your mess and chaos, the reverse is usually true for most of us and anyone would think we were prepared our homes for a royal visit. Well, I wasn’t going to be the one to break with tradition and started cleaning up what I could by torch and candlelight. As time stretched on, the kids and I even ended up in the car charging my phone and reading a book. My husband was more sensible and had an early night.

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The power came back on at 11.00pm and of course, I was still awake and literally burning the candle but relieved to put it out. While candlelight might be romantic, it doesn’t take the place of electricity and can’t bake a cake. That had to wait til this morning.

Best wishes,

Rowena

The Reflective Sailor

Not sure what the reflective sailor’s thinking. If it were me, I’d be thinking about where my next coffee is coming from. Even a 9.00 am start on a Saturday morning seems a bit cruel, especially when we had to leave “the Peninsula” to get there. You just ask anybody who lives on a peninsula what it’s like travelling abroad? We’re all inclined to be rather insular…at least, geographically speaking.

Anyway, on Saturday morning Mum’s Taxi found itself feeling rather confused driving the sailor to his lesson, rather than ducking around the corner to drop our daughter at dancing. I quite enjoyed the change and having time driving along with my son and hanging out at the waterfront. Would’ve loved to go for a sail myself, although can’t sail and would need to hitch a ride. (Sounds like I need to do something about that!!)

Of course, I couldn’t go anywhere near the waterfront without packing my camera and I wasn’t disappointed.

stormy-dark-clouds-sailing

Moody Skies.

Not only was the sailor a little reflective, dark brooding storm clouds also obliged. Indeed, looking at the photos, you can’t help wondering how I let our son sail out in that weather.

Anyway, of course, he survived.

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Looking after the boat. The kids are taught that the boat looks after you, you look after it. I love the sound of that!

I’m so pleased our son loves sailing. Seems like a great stress release for the “reflective” teenage years. After all, I haven’t forgotten what sailing through the swirling vortex of pubescence was like. I’m sure most of us had moments where we’re surprised we made it through.

Do you sail? Feel free to share links to sailing posts in the comments.

xx Rowena

Sunset Down the Street!

So often, you feel you have to travel and have buckets of money to experience the Earth’s beauty.

Yet, there can be so much to soak up right under your own nose when you bother to look. Jump out of your couch. Switch of the TV. Detach yourself from your phone, electronic devices and other leashes and open your eyes to what’s right there. Indeed, all too often we can be standing right in the midst of exquisite beauty and yet absolutely oblivious to it, and miss it all.

As a photographer, I have some kind of unconscious, automatic inner switch or alarm which goes off when conditions are “photogenic” and before I know it, the camera and I are out the door and chasing clouds, sunsets….pure magic!

Although we live near the beach (which was by design and not luck, by the way), these photos were literally taken in my street when the entire sky lit up turning an electric orange.

magic sunset

Absolutely mesmerizing! The entire sky was a brilliant sunburnt orange…even including the air!

Personally, I feel you need clouds for a truly magnificent sunset and once you’ve photographed numerous sunsets, they have to be good to catapult you out o the chair and in the zone.

This sunset didn’t disappoint. Indeed, it was good. Really good!

So, I hope you can appreciate our sunset vicariously and feel a bit more motivated to do a bit of cloud chasing yourself!

It’s great fun but watch out for those snarling, deep purple beasts with dripping tentacles. Take it from me! They’re something to photograph from a sheltered distance with a good zoom.

Rowena Storm

I’d do anything for a photo- including venturing out into the rain.

Have you seen something close to home that’s blown you away recnetly? Please share in the comments!

Wishing you a fabulous weekend!

xx Rowena

Walking Along Bleak Beach.

Yet another storm…

Once again, Mother Nature has ravaged our precious beach, savagely ripping our embattled Banksia trees out by the roots. I could feel their pain but as a mere mortal up against the sea, there was nothing I could do. No kiss of life was ever going to save them. It was all too late. As their bedraggled corpses lay discarded on the sand, I could only express my heartfelt sympathies after the fact.

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High Tide…the rough surf has turned the foam into whipped cream.

Perhaps, I should write a eulogy or an ode? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when you lose someone you love to such heartless destruction?

I don’t know. What else is there?

Build Hadrian’s Walls to keep the Barbarians out? Construct an eyesore to preserve its skeletal remains?

Send the storms somewhere else?

Yet, we all know this isn’t just about the storm, don’t we?!!

That someone’s turned the oven up way too high and someone needs to turn it back down again before Mother Nature blows her stack completely.

When there’s so much more than my precious beachfront at stake, isn’t it about time we revisit how we cook?

I have no doubt and I can only hope that we’re not too late.

Otherwise, what are we going to say?

Am I willing to take the blame?

What about you?

What’s been going on in your neck of the woods? Do you hear climate change knocking on your door?

xx Rowena

surfer

Despite dangerous surf conditions and warnings, there’s always a surfer willing to risk it all for the thrill of the wave.

 

 

A Rainbow In the Sky…Flash Fiction.

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”

Vincent Van Gogh

 

A Rainbow In The Sky

Cast into a stormy sea, raging waves tower imperiously overhead. I’m nothing but a speck in the vast, unending ocean. Lightening shoots through the darkness like laser beams. I’m absolutely petrified.

The storm has brutally ripped me away from my very being…my kids, my very flesh and blood…my husband. It shows no mercy. Will gobble me up like a shark, without spitting out the pips.

I do not understand. Please explain!

Yet, the storm rages on without end. This is it.

Suddenly, a rainbow appears…an upside down smile spreading right across the sky, strangely making some kind of sense.

Rowena

…..

May 24, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that changes with a smile. It can be a character, tone, setting or any creative use of smile. You can go deep and consider motive and influence, or you can light up the world with a brilliant flash (of teeth as well as fiction). And smile, because your writing matters and is not hostage to your level, experience or circumstances.

Respond by May 31, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Weekend Coffee Share: Paris and the week that was.

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.

Poetry Reading Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, Paris.

Poetry Reading Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, Paris.

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.

At the Eiffel Tower in 1992

At the Eiffel Tower in 1992

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.

Black Hawk Helicopter.

Black Hawk Helicopter.

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.

The Lifeguard's board wasn't much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

The Lifeguard’s board wasn’t much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

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.

Hail Stone.

Hail Stone.

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!

The backyard after the storm.

The backyard after the storm.

This storm certainly concerned me because its intensity was uncharacteristically strong for around here, a reminder of another global crisis…global warming.

Our Border Collie doing his agility training...chasing his ball through the debris. He';s an addict!

Our Border Collie doing his agility training…chasing his ball through the debris. He’;s an addict!

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.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

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,

xx Rowena

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/

We send you our love!

We send you our love!

Surviving the Storm at Ocean Beach.

Everybody perceives the world through their own lens and reacts in  their own way. While those who like to be prepared and take precautions might check the weather bureau when they see a storm front, I grabbed my camera jumped in the car heading to the beach to get the shot. One hell of a storm was brewing with a towering bank of deep purple clouds contrasting with perfect blue sky, creating a photographic opportunity too good to miss. I jumped in the car and drove down to the beach as fast as I could within the speed limit and without hitting any of the gazillion ducks and their offspring, which have taken over the streets.

The Lifeguard's board wasn't much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

The Lifeguard’s board wasn’t much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

Once I was down on the beach in photography mode, seeing the world through 6x 4, I was so focused on  capturing those shots that I didn’t even question whether those clouds were harbingers of doom. That those kind of clouds, the really spectacular ones, mean business…a severe storm and it’s not the sort of thing you want to get caught up in.

Not a good time to walk the dog! It wasn't one of ours.

Not a good time to walk the dog! It wasn’t one of ours.

I was still on the beach when large, heavy raindrops started plopping down in quick succession. With no time to wait, I headed back to the car. By this stage, the wind had whipped up and was sweeping up the track. The wind was getting strong. No sooner than I’d made it back to the car, when hail started pelting down sounding like machine gun fire. It was truly terrifying especially as I watched in horror as the hail belted against the windscreen and I wondered just how strong that glass was. Was it going to smash. With the storm hitting the beach front right in front of me and being completely unprotected, the car really took a beating and I hoped it was all going to be okay.

I also made a mental note…no more storm chasing. This was the second time I’d been caught in a storm with my camera and after a surfer was struck by lightening recently, I now know that I need to take these storms a lot more seriously. Photos are not worth dying for!

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Mister showing off the hail.

Another not so minor detail involved the kids. They’d decided to stay home. We’re only minutes from the beach so not a big deal except there I was bailed up in the car with hail the size of golf balls battering down while they were at home. It was too treacherous to drive and I was naturally wanting to get back and so decided to chance it and drove home through the hail…quite a feat for such a nervous driver.

The streets and gardens were covered in 5-10 centimetres of thick hail. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to having snow and it would’ve been incredibly fun for the kids, if these same “golf balls” hadn’t smashed multiple holes in our back roof. While the Laserlite is great for letting the sun through, it had become brittle and bam.

The roof was leaking like a sieve.

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Mister was on the phone to Emergency when I finally made it through the door, totally drenched. The kids took me out the back, to what we call; “The Green Room”. My desk is positioned against a huge window overlooking the garden and my keyboard was literally swimming. The file cards I’ve actually been using for “The Book Project”, had also gone for a swim and my Paris diary, which has survived 22 years including being carted around Europe in my backpack, was also a tad wet.Photo albums, computer equipment and more clutter than you could ever imagine, all getting drench in the line of fire.

I called Emergency back and called the State Emergency Service. They;re the incredible volunteers who risk their own personal safety to put tarps over leaking roofs in the middle of awful storms without being paid a cent. We ended up with 4 SES volunteers out in the yard with one up the ladder or on the roof. Such relief, especially as Geoff was at work and Mister was wanting to be the hero. Get up on the roof and fix the holes himself.

Another point I haven’t mentioned, is that having all that water inside and slippery surfaces is treacherous for people with mobility issues. I fall easily enough without assistance and after breaking my foot in a fairly basic fall, I’m also conscious that such falls aren’t a laughing matter!

Rescue.

Rescue.

I’m proud of our efforts coping under such adverse conditions. We really were thrown in the deep end and had to think about how to best overcome the leaks. I pulled out the shower curtain and used it to cover the book shelf, which was still dry but I didn’t want to take any chances. We put a tarp over my desk once we’d cleared everything off. My daughter, who was incarnating her Cub Scout leader, was sorting out where to put the umpteen containers we required to catch the drips. She did a great job. Mister also did well. He was very concerned about how other people we going and I had to keep reminding him that we’d lost our roof and had our own crisis. It was great, however, to see his community-mindedness.

Thank goodness for the State Emergency Service!

Thank goodness for the State Emergency Service!

Thank goodness Geoff arrived home while the SES was here and he was able to dig out some sheets of iron sheeting to stick over the top. They screwed it down and put sandbags and boards on top to hold it down and even applied some silicone to plug the gaps.

We are so incredibly grateful.

After going through all of this…being stuck in the hail storm, the damage to the roof and all that rain in the house and having to move all that stuff and the damage…I have some incredible photos…and a couple of containers of hail in our freezer and a lot of hard work ahead.

xx Rowena

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

Walking Along the Storm Ravaged Beach.

A few months ago, I wrote about some terrible storms which ravaged Sydney and our normally placid, local beach. While you usually hear about the calm after the storm, there is also the carnage. Naturally, the  electricity is well and truly back on and the streets have been cleared and the fallen trees pulverized into mulch.However, the beach is another story. There is still ongoing  sand erosion and trees have been uprooted and devoured by the angry surf. Still on the rampage, the surf has set its sights on the road, as it carves through the dunes with determined persistence.

Trees have been uprooted and strewn along the beach and buried in a sandy grave.

Trees have been uprooted and strewn along the beach and buried in a sandy grave.

While the environmental impact of the storms has been quite severe, from a photographic perspective, it’s quite another story. The interplay between surf, sand and the trees is rather captivating.

Moreover, it’s also a magic wonderland for little hands, feet and eyes to explore.

Miss climbing up the decimated tree scape.

Miss climbing up a tree skeleton, which was buried in the sand.

Most days, I walk the dogs along this stretch of beach solo but given the glorious Winter sunshine, I encouraged the kids to join me. Despite her action-packed, sleep-deprived weekend at camp, Miss came along. I pulled out the camera and followed her, the dogs and an incredible bank of billowing, white cloud.

Aren't those incredible clouds so mesmerising!

Aren’t those incredible clouds so mesmerising! That’s the Palm Beach headland in the foreground and Whale Beach in the background.

After being outside while the vanished dried on the kitchen floorboards, the dogs almost flew into the car…not that I ever need to tell them twice!!  Actually, all I need to do is get my handbag and head towards my keys and they’re both standing at the front door tails wagging and then there’s almost a draft as they zoom out. There’s no stopping them!

A Dog's Life...isn'tt it tough?!!

A Dog’s Life…isn’tt it tough?!!

We’re in the middle of Winter here and although we’ve had some wet, damp and gloomy stretches, we’ve also had more than our fair share of glorious, sunny weather. When that magical Winter sun is shining , your soul starts to warm up and dance on the inside as you stick your head out the door.

 Even in the middle of Winter, you can muster a smiley face.

Even in the middle of Winter, you can muster a smiley face.

I don’t always take the camera to the beach and I’ve been a bit reticient since we recently updated the lens and it’s still “precious”. After all, getting sand all through your swimmers and your shoes is one thing but it really does nasty things to a SLR camera lens.

Miss in the dunes.

Miss in the dunes looking like an advertisement for some form of  miraculous stain remover.

However, that combination of girl, dogs,beach and sun was too hard to resist and I was thrilled to spot a bank of huge, billowing clouds on the horizon and the light was absolutely perfect as well…the magic hour!

I was in heaven.

Now, I hope you enjoy sharing a touch of our heaven too!

I could almost inhale the incredible beauty!

I could almost inhale the incredible beauty!

Never forget that even in darkest depths of a freezing Winter, the sun is always just behind the clouds waiting to come back out.

xx Rowena