The promise of a cactus flower out of season

The promise of a cactus flower out of season

Hello dear friends!

Yesterday I was sitting out the back with Geoff having our afternoon tea as usual when something caught my eye in the cactus garden. It was unexpected really. It has been quite a while since the last flowering of the cactus plants so I was caught by surprise. A lone shoot; a promise of a pink cactus flower had arisen out of the wheelbarrow full of cactus plants.

But this was no mere cactus flower folks. It was a promise of better things to come after such a deluge of rain that a lot of towns in south-east Queensland have been flooded. The deluge then continued on into New South Wales, devastating towns as it went.Yep, it was Cyclone Oswald! It was an awful time.

People playing in the foam from the ocean

People playing in the foam from the ocean

Beginning in North Queensland where it did damage, it then whipped up oceans until the waves became foam.  It created havoc cancelling trains, boats and planes. And it continued down the coastline flooding towns as it went, until it reached Sydney itself, causing flash flooding in many suburbs.

Cyclone Oswald had been aided and abetted by a high pressure system over New Zealand which blocked the cyclone from moving east and going out to sea in North Queensland as it would normally do. But no! former cyclone Oswald just kept on going down the coast causing devastation as it passed by.

Homes and businesses were destroyed and half a dozen people lost their lives. Even our own area was not immune this time and as I write many are mopping up. Some of the roads are still impassable. Messages on my Facebook page indicate how many of my friends have been affected in this area.

We are fine but this is cold comfort when you live with the reality of all those who are suffering in your ‘backyard’ so to speak. It is constantly ‘in your face’ on TV. Continuous news coverage showing you the devastation. Therefore, when I saw the promise of a blossom out of season, I was encouraged by it. Given HOPE by it.

Sunset over the floodwater not far from where we live

Sunset over the floodwater not far from where we live

You see, we had spent Australia Day (Saturday) watching the constant rain. By Sunday we wondered whether our belated Australia Day morning tea with the family would go ahead as we felt we had witnessed this type of weather before in early January 2011. We watched in horror on TV at that time as major floods covered South East Queensland; Brisbane was not immune either.

In fact, Geoff and I also remembered an Australia Day long weekend in 1974 when we watched similar rain pour down which led to the first major flood in Brisbane since 1893. We were a young married couple at this time and so naive about floods in Brisbane. No one had ever heard of such a thing! Oh besides THE BIG ONE in 1893 of course.

So last week, as experienced ‘older people,’ we worried about the rain that was pouring out of the sky in such a familiar way. “Oh not another flood!” we said in horror. We dared to speak it out … and so it came to pass.

The small town of Bundaberg north of us was the worst hit

The small town of Bundaberg north of us was the worst hit

But, the morning tea did go ahead on the Sunday morning despite the rain. We did not know then that worse was yet to come. By Monday, we would witness the devastation all over the south-east corner.

So our morning tea was minus key people who opted not to come out in such bad conditions and rightly so too. There was  Belinda with baby Madeleine and our daughter Maria who was staying with friends near the bay and was on a tornado alert and told to stay put. We were minding Maria’s girls for the night so they were with us. It was the strangest day.

And so our fragmented family soldiered on with just Dan and Isaac (3), Alice (11) and Violet (6) making the most of our belated Australia Day together as the rain came down. But as for Geoff and me, our eyes were on the rain and what could happen.

The bunny plate inherited from my mther

The bunny plate inherited from my mother

You could say it was no “Afternoon Tea with the Queen” celebration but, despite the rain,  I did try to make it nice for the children by getting out some of my ‘famous’ china like the Cow Milk Jug and the Bunny Lettuce plate. We had Australiana fare such as party pies and cheerios (cocktail frankfurts) as well as lamingtons … the kids loved it. You wouldn’t know there were floods happening elsewhere as we kept up our gaiety.

Also, there was the saga of the basket. Let me explain. I regularly buy small cars from a charity shop nearby to give to our grandson Isaac. He loves cars and I had given him a small basket to carry them in last year but on Sunday (and without his basket) I handed him half a dozen cars, but his arms couldn’t hold them all and he kept dropping them but he wouldn’t let them go!

The cow milk jug bought from a Bega Diary Co.

The cow milk jug bought from a dairy company

I went to my cupboard and found another BIGGER basket. Dare I introduce another basket into Isaac’s life? Heaven knows his mother can’t separate him from the small one he already owns … but ANOTHER ONE?? Oh well, in the spirit of the day and to his great delight, I gave him the basket which he took home full of his ‘new’ cars. Getting Isaac with his basket, to the car, in the pouring rain, was no mean feat for his father.

Isaac with his two baskets and water bottle.

Isaac with his two baskets and water bottle.

So … what is the latest news on the NEW basket? Thinking he may want to return the smaller basket to get a refill of cars next time he visits, I got a text message from his mother saying “Oh no, he loves BOTH baskets!”

Friends, I have created a monster. I will leave you with a photo Belinda sent me of Isaac waking up and coming downstairs with his two baskets plus a drink bottle that Auntie Ria gave him. He’s in love with that too!

And so as the days roll on, we are indeed given hope. How do these people fare who have been flooded not once or twice, but a third time? How do we stand by and watch such devastation? Sometimes, it is not possible to help except to give a generous donation and say some prayers for them, but I find it even painful to simply watch.

Life is not easy friends, but I do believe that at times such as these, we have to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the small joys of life; the delight of our children/grandchildren and even the promise of a pink flower out of season on my cactus bush.

Friends, I am grateful.

This verse inspired me to focus on the good things

This verse inspired me to focus on the good things

Today the cactus flower blossomed.

Today the cactus flower blossomed!