Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Still Rowing....

Four homes down is the creek we cross to get to school.  The marker shows 2 meters.  The creek SHOULD be flowing UNDER the bridge.  Bridge, you ask?  2 meters down.
But the road past our house has been closed for days now. Rockhampton, where the brown snakes and crocodiles (but not the ones that'll eat you, mind, just the ones that'll take a bite outta ya!) are coming into homes with the flood waters, is an hour north and west. New South Wales is as far away as Florida from New York. So that our biggest problem has been a wet yard and an overflowing pool running out of salt. Since the salt comes from Rockhampton.

Today the names of flood zones are starting to sound familiar. Low-lying areas in Strathpine are being urged to evacuate. That's where the mall and the library are. That's where we go to the movies and lunch. That's only ten minutes away by car. Which you can't drive because roads all around us are closed. And you can't use the bus or train because they aren't running. Brisbane – BRISBANE, for crying out loud, is sand-bagging against flooding.

We were just there Saturday. On the water and then the museum when the rains started again.

We can't get to the beach because Caboolture, on the way, is cut off.  And Bribey Island, where our beach is, is closed.  The circle is closing.  Bray Park, the community next to ours, is being evacuated.  Only the low lying areas. mind you.

And the rain just doesn't stop.

It is really awe-inspiring.

Hamming it up outside the museum in Brisbane on Saturday
I think of so many tragedies in the world. The shooting in Arizona. (My GOD America, do you really need to CREATE your OWN disasters?) Tsunamis and earthquakes in the past two years. And Haiti. Of course I think about Haiti. It's been almost a year. And nothing has changed. Except maybe for Sean Penn who really seems to have found his element, God bless him.

And I think of how lucky we are to be here even in the midst of the flooding. I have NEVER EVER seen rain and water at this magnitude and I have seen a LOT, not only in Europe but also in Haiti and Africa. The rain hasn't stopped in 48 hours. After weeks of almost continuous rain that has the previously sun-baked earth around us looking like a marsh. Until now it has just been weeks of wet, and dark, but now there is thunder and lightning. With no signs of stopping and the waters rising around us. And more and more rain predicted for the rest of the week.  Highs aren't even expected until later in the week.  This is only the beginning.

I think of the folks in Toowoomba who spent the night on their roofs waiting for the helicopters this morning. And of how I would HATE to have to do that in the lightning.  (And I think of the 8 dead and 70 missing and realize those were the lucky ones too.)

At least it is warm here though, and no one is freezing.

And at least we have roads and dams and evacuation plans and emergency crews.  (Friends, neighbors and family - Aunt Merle - have been in constant contact today, offering trips to the supermarket, a TV set which we have finally accepted and board games and building blocks for the kids.  Everyone is checking up on eachother and everyone is helping.  The worst always brings out the best in people everywhere.)

Flooding of this magnitude would devastate Haiti as much as last year's earthquake did.

I'm writing to let everyone know we are all right. And we are.

But as the dam waters continue to thunder out the gates – the levels are at 172% and rising – you realize just how much an illusion your sense of control really is. We feel lucky that we don't have much to lose – although our crates have now arrived in Brisbane harbor and are being sand-bagged as I write. I liked the idea of them on a boat all this time. What better place but on an ark?! Until I realized today that if they do get flooded – that if we lose those ten years of photo albums and all my books – well, I realized what those crazy people on TV who have lost everything mean when they say that their possessions really weren't that important in the first place.

For me, a bad day in Australia is better than a good day anywhere else.

I'm SUPPOSED to be rowing THIS boat down THIS stream.

Funny though, all this time I'd been imagining a kayak, not a police escort to a highschool gymnasium on high ground!  (Don't worry - it'll be a LandRover and it'll be at Emily's.)

Again, WE ARE FINE! WE ARE HOME. WE ARE NOT BEING EVACUATED. And, while we are SURROUNDED by flooding and evacuation, the general consensus of neighbors who gathered to watch the creek flood its banks is that Lawnton is on high ground relative to surrounding area.  The water would have to rise by 45 meters for us to be in danger.  We are at 2 and rising.  So far we are to remain where we are. Still plenty of puzzle pieces to work on, more Clue games to play and a TV and DVDS on the way.

Still rowing...

1 comment:

  1. Build an ark, Noah! (God advice is easy to come by; just breed the good rook!)
    I'm very glad to hear you are doing well. We've been thinking of you!