Tag Archives: storms

An Unpredictable End…Friday Fictioneers.

The end was unscripted. He simply sent her a text, as cold and unfeeling as a Winter wind. Yet, her grief was brutal. A stab to the heart. A kick to the guts. She could even feel his huge mechanic’s hands tighten around her throat, along with that final gasp.

Kate was not above revenge. A crime of passion. Destroying him cell by cell with her own rat cunning. She even thought of phoning Roger.

Yet, a skerrick of reason remained. That, while she couldn’t make it better, she could always make things worse.

Now, she could only face the storm, but with renewed strength, knowing it too would pass.

……

This was my second go at this week’s prompt and it stretched so far beyond the initial photo prompt that I decided to use a different image. It looks at how we respond when someone does something terrible and unforgivable to us. Do we lose ourselves and our core values in pursuit of revenge? Or, self-destruct unable to recover from the pain?

I remember a bit of a joke from my single days: “If you can’t have the one you love, love the one you’re with. If you can’t love the one you’re with, turn out the light.”

When it really boils down to it, we really have no choice but to plough onwards through the storms of life, but there are things we can possibly do to prevent the storms from building up. Moreover, we can also be better prepared, and in peak condition when they hit. That way, we’re better positioned to be a victor, than a victim and to rise from the ashes of what ever it is that hits us.

Here is the original photo prompt thanks to :

July 18 dawn-in-montreal

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

This was another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields

Best wishes,

Rowena

Clouds! Camera! Action!

Last stop…Scouts. Next stop…dinner?

Well, maybe not.

While Mum’s Taxi could’ve stayed parked in the driveway, instead it was reversing back out again and darting off to the beach. Never very good at sticking with routine, I was being led astray by forces beyond my control.

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The Magic of Clouds.

The clouds made me do it.

As I was driving home from dropping our daughter at Cub Scouts, I’d spotted massive clouds on the horizon and I just had to capture the magic. It was right on sun set and anticipating the magic, my imagination was already painting incredible pictures.

That morning, we’d had incredibly heavy rain and localised flooding. So, the clouds promised to be good.

I popped home to pick up my camera.

“No, Mummy! Don’t go!” My son pleaded. “The last time you went, it hailed.”

Hail? Why did he have to mention the hail?!!

dog in the storm

The hail storm was about to hit. Not a good time to walk the dog. This wasn’t one of ours!

Although I didn’t want to think about the hail storm, revisiting my past sins could well prevent me from repeating past mistakes.

You see, today wasn’t the first time I’d spotted superlative clouds while driving around in Mum’s Taxi.

Indeed, after spotting these clouds while picking the kids up from school, I just ducked down to the beach for a few minutes with the camera. These clouds were too good to miss and I really thought I had a chance at capturing the big one. That mighty shot which makes even your most incredible photos look ordinary. This is the photographer’s equivalent of catching that prized marlin as eulogized in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

In other words, it was NOT to be missed!

Having been caught out in thunderstorms with my camera before, I was being careful. As soon as I felt a huge raindrop fall on my shoulder, I immediately headed for the car. However, I hadn’t banked on the speed of the storm. It was already too late. I’d only just made it to the car when the storm hit. Hauled up in my tin can, the windscreen bore the full force of the storm’s brutal full-frontal assault. Yet, somehow it withstood the incessant pounding and I survived. While the hail was still falling, I decided to make a run for it and drove gingerly home through an icy wonderland to reach the kids. Our entire town was blanketed in ice.

By the way, we live just North of Sydney where it’s hot and we don’t get ice and snow! So, this weather was exceptionally exceptional!

I couldn’t believe how a quick five minute photo shoot at the beach had turned into a near catastrophe. However, the worst was still to come. The hail had pelted straight through our back roof like machine gun fire and it was now leaking like a sieve. Of course, this had to be the roof to my office and my PC was swimming through the rain and hail with the mouse in hot pursuit. The kids were extremely stressed as well and I had to do some quick thinking to keep our son from heading up a ladder to “fix” the roof. Thank goodness volunteers from the State Emergency Service came to the rescue and put up a tarpaulin. Angels come in an amazing range of guises!

So, when Mr J had concerns about me bringing on another hail storm, there was motive to his madness. Indeed, I’d told the kids that if I ever tried going cloud chasing again, stop me. I was starting to appreciate that once I’d seen all those billowing clouds, all reason disappeared. Under their spell, all I could do was blindly follow.

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So without any further ado, I was off. My entire gripped with potential! I could sense the magic in the air.

Clouds! Camera! Action!

The clouds didn’t disappoint. Huge, towering castles of whipping meringue, they floated majestically above the beach, staring at their glamorous reflections in the shallows. I wonder if they loved their own reflections as much as I did?

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They were absolutely mesmerizing and I didn’t have to ask if you could fall in love with a cloud.

I already knew!

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Of course, all too soon, the light was fading transforming their brilliance into a world of silvery shadows, infusing their night music with Neptune’s melodies.

I wondered if Endymion and Diana were about to embrace but it was time to go.

Just one minor detail…was our dinner burning?

xx Rowena

PS I loved those clouds SO much, I couldn’t resist going back again this morning.The stream was produced by the storm, showing just how heavy the rain has been!

DSC_0094b morning

The Morning After, Ocean Beach.

 

 

 

The Rainbow That Got Away!

Photography is like fishing.

There is always that perfect shot that “got away”. That idyllic moment you, for whatever reason, missed.

A few days ago, as I was driving home after the dropping the kids at school, I noticed the most intensely coloured rainbow arching over the beach. I absolutely adore rainbows and experiencing a sort of visual lust peculiar to mad photographers, I felt that tell-tale pitter-patter in my heart which was rapidly crescendoing into a frenzied explosion.

The colours were so intense but although I was completely intoxicated and absorbed by this stunning rainbow, my camera was at home and we all know about the fleetingness of rainbows and how quickly they slip through your fingers. After all, they don’t want to get caught…not even in 6×4.

Not to be deterred, I raced home and picked up the camera and the dogs.

Of course, by the time I returned, the rainbow was gone.

Indeed, it looked like it had never even been there at all. It had vanished without a trace.

Yet, there was still so much to photograph. The sky was a foreboding dark grey with a trail of pure white clouds scudding across and incredibly moody. Storm water had carved an impressive estuary through the sand and the beach had a raw, powerful energy and felt a little wild.

Bilbo fogging up the windscreen with angst while I photograph the rainbow.

Bilbo fogging up the windscreen with angst while I photograph the rainbow.

While I ran around taking shots, the dogs were still in the car as they’re not allowed on this section of the beach.

They weren’t happy!

While I was disappointed at missing the rainbow shots, I was philosophical about it all. Sometimes, you are just meant to feast on such things with your eyes instead of trying to recreate perfection and somehow lose the magic in the translation.

Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Opted to Walk in the Rain.

Jonathon Livingstone Seagull Opted to Walk in the Rain.

I called it a day and started driving home when I noticed the sun starting to force it’s way through the rain clouds with a determined, golden haze. My hopes raised a little. Sun and rain equals rainbows and as I turned into my street and threw a passing glance back at the beach, the rainbow was back.

Yes!!

The elusive rainbow finally captured over Lion Island.

The elusive rainbow finally captured over Lion Island.

One very quick U-turn later and the dogs and I were moving like greased lightening, albeit under the speed limit…of course!!

The rainbow was arched right over the top of Lion Island, which was shrouded in a foggy haze. Serenely beautiful, it was a veritable fairyland with an ethereal beauty!

Wow!

After I’d taken my shots, the sea gulls, which had parked themselves along the beach captured my attention. Perhaps, they were also admiring the rainbow. I don’t know. A few of them suddenly started taking off, so very much like planes on a runway and the seemingly ordinary took on a new serenity at that moment. They reminded me of Noah’s dove…except the rain hadn’t stopped!

Jonathon Livingston Seagull Finds His Wings!

Jonathon Livingston Seagull Finds His Wings!

Indeed, it’s still going and while it hasn’t snowed here, it’s snowed heavily in places which are usually lucky to receive a dusting.

So, you could say we’re needing a rainbow at the moment and I would love to escape to rainbow island if only there wasn’t the perpetuate battle between sun and rain.

Of course, in my idea of the perfect paradise, there is only sun!

xx Rowena

After the Sydney Storm

After three days of terrifying,cyclonic winds and drenching rain, the sun came out today almost making a mockery of our ordeal. Indeed, as I feel that warm sunshine filtering through the blinds, it’s more of a case of what storm? There isn’t even a puff of wind.If I was feeling more energetic, I’d awaken my rusty vocal chords and belt out: “Oh What A Beautiful Morning”. My Dad used to sing that on long drives in yet another embarrassing Dad moment.

However, while the storm has cleared, the scars remain. Our front window is still taped up and while Geoff has salvaged the clothes line from the fallen tree, there’s still a huge pile of branches in the yard. Tracks down to our local beach have been sealed off and calls have gone out to help with the clean-up.

Ocean Beach, Umina after the storm.

Ocean Beach, Umina after the storm. That’s Lion Island in the middle of the frame and Palm Beach is the headland on the left.

With the sun shining, winds gone and clear skies, my concerns about the kids going to school this morning were gone as were my concerns about driving them there. That, however, didn’t stop Mister from putting up incredible resistance. It’s the first day back after the Easter holidays and we’ve established nothing even approaching a routine. This morning, it was simply a case of getting them there. That’s all.

The storm has still left me rattled and has brought out some troubling old war wounds. Like those phantom pains experienced by an amputee, these memories still haunt me. Yes, you get on with it but that doesn’t mean the ghosts aren’t real. Moreover, I’m sure denial only makes them worse. Then, they start to play up and vie for your attention with all sorts of desperate antics. As much as I really don’t want to say hello and validate their existence, this seems to be the path of least resistance.

And so we move forward. Not strong, all-conquering heroes but fully human…shaken, not stirred.

For all of you who might have lost houses or loved ones during the storm, we send you our love.

Have you been through any spectacular storms? How did you feel afterwards? Please share your stories!

xx Rowena

PS I am participating in the Blogging A-Z April Challenge and this is a postscript to S is for Sydney Storms.

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

Walking Through the Storm…the Story.

Yesterday, the dogs and I got caught out in an exceptionally heavy rainstorm, despite my husband’s dire warnings.

I was considering whether to take the kayak out when Geoff called to warn me about a severe rain storm.He’d just seen it pass through at work and warned that it was bad… bad bad….dumping absolutely buckets and buckets of rain. Apparently, the storm was at Brooklyn only about 10 minutes away as the crow flies, near the Hawkesbury River Bridge, just North of Sydney.

My husband knows all these things about storms not because of his psychic abilities or because he’s some kind of meteorologist. Rather, he cheats. He looks up the Bureau of Meteorology’s website at http://www.bom.gov.au where they show pretty pictures of the rain radar out at Sydney airport.

The dogs out walking.

The dogs out walking.

However, with ten minutes up my sleeve, I thought I had just enough time to take the dogs for a walk on the mudflats out the front of the house before the rain set. We’re on holidays at Palm Beach and the dogs are rather cooped up and needed to get out…as did I!

Well,as you can surmise, I didn’t look up the “bom site” or at least I didn’t this time.

Who was I trying to kid going out in this crazy weather? Looking at these storm clouds now, they're  definite trouble.

Who was I trying to kid going out in this crazy weather? Looking at these storm clouds now, they’re definitely trouble.

Sure, when I looked South, there were a few menacing-looking, dark clouds hanging low and gloomily, very close by along with the occasional rumble but when I looked North across to Lion Island, the dark clouds were still fairly high up and rain didn’t seem that imminent.

There seemed to be just enough time to make a run for it with the dogs and carpe diem seize the day!

Famous last words!  Yet, like so many things, it felt like a good idea at the time.

The decaying jetty is returning to the sea.

The decaying jetty is returning to the sea.

We set off. The tide had only just started going out and there was only a somewhat narrow “crust” of sand on the water’s edge to walk along. This route was broken up by a number of boat jetties. Most of these are fairly dilapidated with more missing planks and gaps than a seven year old who is missing their front teeth and has a number of wobblies as well. I found the state of the jetties along millionaire’s row rather surprising. Not only are many falling apart but they’re caked in slippery green moss and you could easily break your neck trying to step over them. Being an environmental sort, I was pleased to see the number of oysters growing along the pillars, forming fairly complete exoskeletons. However, that was until I was trying to squeeze through under one particular jetty and virtually had to hold my breath as I narrowly avoided being cut, sliced and diced by oysters on all fronts. It was a rather tight fit and perhaps I should’ve turned back but I must have heard the call of the wild. I had to keep going.

In what was a fairly dangerous move, I’d taken my camera along with me. If you’re not into photography or use the likes of your iPhone to take photos, perhaps you won’t appreciate the risk involved. You see when you are a photographer at heart,  as you’re staring through the lens, you are  even more focused than the lens in your camera. The rest of the world naturally blurs, fading right out of focus. This means that you can miss things which aren’t quite in your very limited orbit. In my case included some little, and even not so little, black rain clouds…and just a couple of lightening bolts!!

Indeed, for the true photographer, a storm quickly translates into a “photo opportunity” long before there’s any perception of danger at all. Photographers, especially when they’re staring fixated through the lens, will do anything to get the shot and are more than likely completely oblivious to any kind of danger or seriously impending doom until it’s too late…usually way, way too late!!

Fortunately, something or somebody often comes to our rescue. Australia’s legendary photographer Ken Duncan tells a fabulous story behind his iconic photo: The Power of One where he captures an African elephant in the Zambezi River. Just moments after he’d taken the shot, the elephant charged. Fortunately, his quick thinking guide saved his life but it was a sobering reminder. Apparently, the elephant had appeared further away through the lens. http://www.kenduncan.com/gallery/overseas/the-power-of-one-africa-zwx092-detail

Lady romping along before the storm hits.

Lady romping along before the storm hits.

Along with my own distractions, the dogs were having a ball. Of course, Bilbo our big Border Collie, doesn’t like getting his paws wet and was trotting along on dry sand while Lady was running through the water or just running, running, running. She was tearing around like a bat out of hell…or a dog who’d just been released from prison. Lady always has so much fun. I wanted to let the dogs have a good run, not knowing how long we’d be cooped up inside with the rain.

I hadn’t walked far and was feeling rather chuffed squeezing in quite a walk before the rain set in. But then I felt a couple of large raindrops plop onto my head and as we turned around heading for home, the sky suddenly opened up and dumped and kept dumping and dumping. I sped up as fast as I could but the rain was moving in fast and furious and we were absolutely drenched. I had my camera around my neck but just didn’t think I should stop to put it away and I also have to admit that I even took a few photos as we went. The wind had whipped up and was roughing up the sea. There were flashes of lightening and louder, very unmistakable claps of thunder. It was getting a little bit out of hand but while there was some possibility that I might have been struck by lightening, I  had somehow been transmogrified by the storm. Despite the wind and rain, the air was so incredibly fresh and invigorating and I felt so alive. It was quite mesmerising.

Bilbo and I in the laundry sopping wet but we made it back.

Bilbo and I in the laundry sopping wet but we made it back.

The kids weren’t so thrilled when we arrived home. Instead, I was in trouble. They had actually managed to tear themselves away from the X-Box and were watching me from the balcony with lightening flashing all around me. They were worried that I was going to get struck down. I don’t know whether I feel like I’ve become invincible after surviving all my other trials and tribulations or whether I just worry about more mundane things but I had no fear at the time. I was swept away in all the atmospheric moodiness of the storm. Even though the dogs and I were soaking wet, it was really quite exhilerating!!

As much as Bilbo seems to love standing out in the rain, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him quite so wet, The rain was falling off him in flowing sheets…almost Niagara Falls. Lady, who isn’t quite as woolly, fared better.

Turns out that the rain storm was fast and furious. Palm Beach recorded 8.4 mm for the day and  Terrey Hills, not that far away, recorded 6.4 mm in only ten minutes.

It turns out the kids’ concerns about us being out in the storm weren’t as crazy as I’d thought. Across the Sydney Basin during the time of the storms, 275 lightning strikes were recorded within a 30 kilometre radius of Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s North west. Looks like I might have just used up another one of my gazillion nine lives.

Of course, Geoff said I told you so but I did get some great photos and wrote a poem to tell the tale. That’s not just poetic justice but photographic justice as well!

I would love to hear about any close calls you might have had to get the shot!

xx

Rowena

Sources

Read about the storm and check out more photos here: http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/09/25/12/11/severe-thunderstorms-set-to-hit-sydney

http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/sydneys-spring-soaking/149130