A floody list
I have started this post about three times today.
One moment I think I should go ‘light’ and focus on something OTHER than flooding. Then I see another bulletin, another horrendous story of lives lost, of houses being drowned, and I realise it’s too soon. There is just no room. It’s hard to think beyond the relentless devestation slowly eroding my state. Hard to avoid feeling each and every friend’s anguish as they are evacuated from their homes, or wondering how on earth they are doing when I haven’t heard news of them. It’s hard to find the optimist in me. I think I might have lost her, just a little.
I’d love to be bright and breezy, but I simply cannot lift myself above the swirling quagmire of the disaster that is Queensland at the moment. Like so many I talk to, I am exhausted by the relentlessness of it all. And I am getting most of the events second and third hand, on television, radio and Facebook (the most instant reporting system of them all!). I cannot imagine what it is like for those watching, experiencing, struggling at Ground Zero.
I won’t try and represent all that is going on in Queensland, in this blog. If you need that info, go here.
Instead I shall make it personal. Closer to home. A list. A list always makes things a little easier to digest, don’t you think?
BB’s BLOODY FLOODS LIST
1. Our roads are crap. I don’t use this descriptive lightly. Our paddock roads are still almost impassable. We have tried to repair them with the tools at hand – but there is a lot of ‘getting bogged’ going on. It’s rather annoying. Having frustrated menfolk underfoot is NOT a fun consequence of enforced inaction.
2. I don’t want to go to town. I actually do everything I can to avoid making the 55km trip – as a result of our public roads being in only slightly better condition than our private roads. It is such an ordeal to traverse the broken, guttered track that I once zoomed along with little thought that I find all sorts of excuses to ensure someone else does the ‘town jobs’. (My town friends should know it’s not a personal thing – I just don’t like that drive much at the moment. It’s painful. I prefer my little bubble of isolation out here. You can visit me if you like!).
3. There is no milk. The shelves, in grocery stores in our town, are bereft of liquid calcium. (Actually LOTS of towns in Queensland have run out of all kinds of essential supplies. My friend Elle reported that Blackall has not had anything on their shelves for a couple of weeks – bread is being rationed so those on properties get something when they manage to get in. And there is no fuel in many places. It’s because no trucks can get in here. Or at Elle’s local towns. Or to most of Queensland. And now, no trucks can get out of Brisbane. A pretty sucky situation all-round.) My town ran out of milk yesterday – and suddenly visiting there is even less appealing. I didn’t realise how much my life revolved around milk. Apparently it does.
4. This old girl might suddenly be worth her weight in gold.
The Bay Lulic Factor!
My kids are very excited at the prospect of putting this ex-dairy milker ‘into action’. I’m not sure I am… but at least we have this option. And she is only 6 litres of full-cream homogenised away from being called on.
5. I am so glad I have a working garden. The produce market which supply most of Queensland is underwater. So therefore, no fruit or vege is being processed. And no trucks. And the farms that supply the fruit and vege are probably mostly underwater. Or covered in mud. It could be a while before we see fresh bananas or lettuce or carrots on the shelves. Thank goodness I actually have a working vege garden – I have tomatoes, zucchini, basil, capsicum and some very odd, stunted carrots. The insects are doing their level best to beat me to the ripe veg but we are still picking something.
6. We grow beef. And we have big freezers. As long as our power stays on, our iron levels will be fine.
7. I am so glad I am in the bush - watching Brisbane being flooded today made me realise how incredibly lucky I am. Our clean water depends on OUR ability to harvest it and ration it. Not on the rest of 2 million people being sensible about using their clean water wisely. We got isolated for many days here, but it was without real fear for our lives. Lucky. I remind myself of this fact daily. Hourly.
8. I am so proud of this state and its people. Premier Bligh said something today about encouraging Brisbane to face this flooding like their bush counterparts – to use regional Queensland’s resiliance as inspiration for their own ordeal. I hope they can. So many bushies have gone without direct contact, without milk for Pete’s sake, for days and weeks already. Some have been evacuated twice from their homes. So many still find something to smile about, a way of seeing the humour in their situation. One old darling made a crack that her modest weatherboard home was now suddenly waterfront – and perhaps she could sell it for a ripping profit! And some card in Brisbane shared their scuba equipment with the effigy of a sporting icon here … and a friend just sent me this:
Caption: New Brisbane Autumn Footwear Fashion
(A frog riding a snake to safety at Dalby – check the link for the story!)
9. I see evidence of cameraderie and neigbourliness breaking out all over. Around here, I have seen it – I guess out bush you kind of expect it. But I see it also in bigger centres, and in Brisbane. And it’s not always evident there – as a resident for many years of Bris-Vegas I can attest the erosion of the true spirit of ‘neighbourhood’ in many parts of this city of two million. But now I see neighbours helping neighbours move furniture, to get to safety. I see complete strangers volunteering to help evacuate business as owners become overwhelmed with the task. Stories of heroics to save others. People reaching out to people. There are sparkles of good amongst the muddy chaos.
10. I am humbled by the support being shown from around Australia and around the world. On a broad scale, with the Flood Appeal and through donations of clothing and furniture and essential items for those who now have nothing. And on a personal level, for all those who have rung and emailed and messaged us to check on our safety. We are fine. Emotionally exhausted and frustrated, but fine… and any alone-ness that maybe hovered, lifts quickly with each call, each message.
I look back over this list tonight and I see it. Positive words floating out from the awfulness. I didn’t realise they were there til I did this list. I am so relieved to see them – I am still in there somewhere!
If you are a Queenslander reading this, please share you floody list. The positive and the negative. Get it out. It’s quite cathartic.
If you are elsewhere, but have experienced this kind of life-changing event feel free to share your tips.
Thanks for listening. And helping me realise just how lucky I am.