Wet … 2011 RIP

This is not meant to be a blog about rain, or the beach for that matter, but particularly not just about rain.
It’s just that living in Queensland at this time of year, well it can be pretty wet.  I’m sitting here listening to the rain which has been falling non-stop for the last twelve hours, knowing my water tanks are overflowing and that next time it eases I need to go open the tap on my worm-farm so my babies don’t drown, and thinking about friends huddled under a cyclone right now, well my mind is drawn back to January 2011.  Here’s something I wrote back then.
And do have a listen to Deborah and Willy on ITunes, it’s a beautiful song written for those who died on that January day when the devil himself could have done no more.

Brisbane River from Mt Cootha
The view from Mt Cootha

The drought broke hard without much warning, it rained, rained, rained
Floods filled the pretty parks, houses and cars float away…
Third Time Down, Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier


Jan 11 3pm

Just letting you all know that my apartment, car and I are surviving the wet so far in Brisbane – tomorrow’s supposed to be the worst so fingers crossed.  I know people think Melbourne has lots of rain – I’ve never seen anything like this, certainly not that went on for this many days.

I was out with friends yesterday. I had to apologise and leave early, I was scared to drive home in the dark with so much water on the road.  They thought I was over reacting.  It’s been raining for days.

The office closed at lunch time today, probably for the rest of the week – it’s already surrounded by flooded streets and the underground car park is turning into an underground lake, smelly and oily.  It’s being filled by a river running down the exit ramps.

But thankfully for now at least I’m home and dry – you should have seen the lines at the supermarket (people stocking up on toilet paper and bottled water) and at the petrol stations, people are in panic!

Jan 11 9pm 

Must be terrible to actually be at risk from this incredible deluge, I’m sitting high and dry and yet feeling really, really scared… it’s not at all nice.

I joined the panicked crowds and I’ve just been and bought petrol and ice.  Figure if the power goes off I might have to use the car to charge my phone.  I’ve packed the fridge and freezer with ice.

Despite being enough of an historian to believe that the Biblical Flood didn’t just involve rain, I’m starting to think old Noah had a plan.

Clearly time to break open a bottle and get as sloshed as Brisbane.

Jan 12, 9am

SUREAL… the premier said it so it must be true… blue skies, hot sunshine, just silence apart from the constant sound of choppers and sirens.  They make you jump.

I’ve just been for a walk down into Toowong.  People are walking everywhere as too many roads are cut off. 

The shopping centres are closed.  All the shops are closed, people are gathering at the one coffee and independent bread shop that is open. The Asian grocer is doing a roaring trade – there will be lots of tofu and two minute noodles in Toowong tonight!

Even knowing I’m safe, well it still feels scary: it’s all wrong.  And everything’s flooded but the sun is shining.  My brain can’t seem to hold those two thoughts at once.

The whole atmosphere is stunned.  It’s so quiet.

Getting around town
Getting around town

The closest water is about a kilometre away.  I suspect it’s voyeuristic but I had to go and look.  I know I’m safe up here, but it’s horrible.  And it’s worse being alone.  It’s the eerie silence.  Silence punctuated by crows and choppers and sirens.  Like I imagine it would be the day after they drop the bombs, when “the war” begins.  The day after the world ends.  Only one or two cars cruising slowly, roads blocked, police lights flashing silent warning.  So many people out walking, some on bikes, walking in the middle of the road since there are no cars.

Down toward the river there were small groups of people huddled in silence watching, standing looking at the water, watching it rise – transfixed.  Some of us climbed up onto the rooftop carpark of the shopping centre just to stand and look.  And, apart from the choppers and crows, it’s just so eerie & quiet… not even cicadas…. no other birds, just the crows…

Love summer
Love summer

I talked to a lot of people when I was walking – lots of numb people. Everyone said Hi, like they hope you have the answer.

I couldn’t stay home alone wondering what was happening, the radio/tv was incredibly depressing and very scary.  Not nice, even though I knew I was safe.

Jan 12, 11am

Made a new friend at Mt Cootha looking at the view out over the flood – that river is huge, the scale of damage incredible.  Anyway, my new friend’s out of coffee so we’re meeting at the flooded park near her house (walking distance from home) and I’ll give her some as I have lots.

It’s a way to share some solidarity – don’t even know her name!

The drought broke hard without much warning, it rained, rained, rained
Floods filled the pretty parks, houses and cars float away

First time the water closes over I’m going down
Second time all my sins forgiven
Redemption on the third time down

To Postman’s Ridge, below the mountain, the torrent roared
Covered everything, the devil himself could have done no more

First time the water closes over I’m going down
Second time all my sins forgiven
Redemption on the third time down

Creeks turn to seas
People lost in disbelief
I was held by the tide but now I am released

Close the doors, lock all the windows, it’s wet outside
Turn on the radio, you can pray but I’d rather dance tonight

Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier

Author: Wendy's Out of Station

I write as a way of processing and reflecting on experience, and as a way of sharing that experience. When I travel I used to write email journals back to friends, family, anyone who’d read and risk immersing themselves in my reality for a while: writing for them was a way of writing for me. Borrowing from Graham Greene in a flip of Travels with my Aunt, I imagined writing letters to my nieces, as their travelling aunt. Crafting the sentences became a way of extruding the experience, giving it birth, drawing its meaning from my soul, nurturing it into something tangible with a life of its own. The aim of my blog is to open the world to my thought-children, to let them out of the safety of my friends and family and let them experience the world. And in the process I get the honour of taking a larger group with me when I’m wandering around India and beyond, or just reflecting on parallel truths, thinking thoughts that take me to new places new beginnings. Please journey with me

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