WQW #39 Air: Wind, Storms – the winds of change

It’s useful to have storms in our lives every so often as a reminder to start something new

– Unknown

Over the last two winters,  we have endured floods and storms which have resulted in long term road closures. Not only were we locked down with the COVID pandemic, but the damaged roads locked us in as well. 

Just as the July 2021 roadworks were almost completed, then came the August 2022 storm.

Marlborough Sounds has suffered huge damage across much of the rural roading network. 

Our road is once again closed to all traffic except essential services. Whilst we have an acknowledgment from the insurance company that our car will be covered should we have a mishap, it is still a hazardous trip out each week as we drive through for medical appointments, essential groceries and gas bottle refills.

Priority is being given to major transit links like the state highways and their alternative routes, and the three Fs (fishing, farming and forestry). Apparently the residents are less important than industry.  

There is no respite in sight as the local council have not yet decided how much of our road will actually been fixed and reopened. This is frustrating and disappointing to say the least. 

There is water access to some parts of the Sounds and there are some subsidies available for water taxis and barges but this is still a huge financial cost, and for us it is impractical. Our beach is too shallow for landing supplies via barge and it is very difficult if not impossible to wade ashore carrying 18kg gas bottles and groceries. So, we risk the broken closed roads instead.

No longer am I willing to negotiate driving this road at night so I am missing my fortnightly quiz nights at the local tavern, and any social occasions with friends and family. Life is a bit grim. 

We feel very isolated so it is time for a change. My motivation is sadly lacking just now but it is something I seriously need to grasp onto as we begin to make some life changing decisions. It has been a time for reflection and lots of introspection. Taking time to listen to the winds of change blowing insistently in our heads and hearts.

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

Chinese proverbs 
Bremen windmill

After 30 years we are reluctantly planning to sell our beautiful beachfront property and move into town whilst we are still fit and healthy enough to cope with all that entails. This has been, and still is a heart-wrenching decision for us. 

Life is too short to do anything that doesn’t light a fire inside of you. 

I’m just not yet sure if moving into urban life is going to light the fire? And yet, staying here is no longer lighting my fire either!

The first steps have begun. We have told the family. Our house is on the market.. It might take time to sell so hopefully we may get to enjoy our last summer of beach life.  And, we are looking at house plans with a view to building our new home. Individual preferences are already proving to be a challenge so there will be some stormy discussions ahead. 

 Life is about to get more interesting.  Watch this space!

Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever. 

Roy T. Bennett

Rural isolation and digital desolation

Over the last two days
We have had weather in all ways
Horizontally and vertically the wind did blow 
so too the rain did fall.

Pouring rain 
Howling gales 
Slips and slumps
Flooded roads

Then came the high tide
The creek overflowed
The lawns became a lake
It was more than we could take

Rivers were in flood
Trees ripped out
Bridges were gone
Everywhere was sodden mud

Damaged houses subsided in landslips galore
Driveways slipped down the hills
Ditches and drains could hold no more
Householders now face huge clean up bills

A 100 year event was in store
350 mm rainfall in only two days
I cannot remember such a deluge before
Climate change is definitely underway.

And yet, just a month or two ago
Another weather event had also been described just so.
Someone can’t count the days or the years
This weather event will surely all end in tears.

The power went out… and then it came back 
BUT THEN… Shock and horror
The internet went down.
Our digital connection was gone.

Digital desolation 
I was in disconnect despair
Rain fade stopped the tv feed
We had no news updates 
or weather warnings to heed.

Looking out the window was all we could do
Yes - it was still raining and blowing too
Thank goodness for notebooks and pens
so I could write this plea to the weather gods,

"Please stop the rain, I promise to be good
Its just too wet in this neighbourhood"

Suddenly I caught a brief glimpse of moonlight 
peeping out from the clouds of the night 
Perhaps the wind is blowing the clouds away.
Is the rain going to stop at last?  

The third morning dawned bright with light
Of the wind and rain there was no sound nor sight
It was over but it had left behind 
A devastating plight

We walked to see what damage had been done
although we could have just swum
The ground was awash with muddy water
amidst slippery piles of clay and stone 

At last there were helicopters up in the air 
Assessing the damage to the isolated grounds
Diggers were ferried by barge to the Sounds
No traffic getting through by road.

Maybe they will soon fix the power and phones
To make sure people are safe in their homes
By 5pm that day the phone started pinging
"Are you alright”  the messages were asking

"Yes", we replied thankfully though many are not 
At least we still have homes safe from the flood
Our thoughts are with those much less fortunate than us
As evacuations end and the big clean up begins.

So  until the next time Mother Nature  intervenes
to send us another reminder of climate change
Lets hope we all listen and do our bit
to keep this planet healthy and fit.

2. Erasing clouds

Springtime continues to elude us. 
Teasing with flashes of sunshine amidst splashes of rain. 

Calm moments alternate with gales
Seas reflect then blur with stormy waves. 

Unseasonable snow stops the spring growth
Weather patterns are a-changing 

Fiery clouds accumulate over clear blue skies. 
Hazy days and cloudy nights. 

Climate change scientists fight the ego of politicians. 
Have we the luxury of time to debate how to save the environment? 

Erase the clouds of bad judgement
And please just save our planet. 

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.\https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2020/09/01/september-writing-prompts