Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Rain

It's absolutely pouring in Brisbane at the moment. We sat out on the front deck yesterday for lunch and the air was clean from days of rain, the ground saturated and squelchy under our feet and the leaves on trees were heavy and droopy from the downpour. Droplets of rain were beading on our newly planted tropical garden leaves and making a sodden, muddy mess of the front garden, where the grass had't had a chance to grow through the topsoil we'd put on the grass last week. Despite the mud, the mess and the inconvenience, I loved it!

With last year's floods still fresh in his mind though, Josh was more thinking of disaster. He's too young to remember that when he first started school, Queensland was in the grip of one of the worst droughts in history.

The levels in Wivenhoe Dam has slowly been dropping over the years and we started with level 1 restrictions, limiting our watering days to 3 days per week. As things got more serious the level restrictions increased until we couldn't use water outside at all. No washing the car, no washing the house, no hosing down the paths, no letting the kids run under the sprinklers watering the garden.

I had planted fairly drought hardy, native plants but they certainly weren't thriving. In fact, they were hardly even surviving. I remember buying a 20 metre hose pipe to pump all the water from the washing machine onto the garden, but it was too big for the washing machine hose, so I would hold the two bits together for the duration of each drain cycle and end up covered in soapy water.

I even siphoned the bath water, running a hose out of the upstairs bathroom, down the hall and over the front deck to give the poor lilly pillies in the front garden a chance to grow. It was hot, dusty, dry and depressing.

When I thought back to those days, the irony of the recent floods aren't lost on me. Back then we would have done anything for a drop of rain. The ground was so hard and dry from lack of moisture that even when I threw water on it from a bucket I would shower with to catch the excess water, it would just pool at the top. But during the floods and also this week, the ground is saturated to capacity, with the heavy downpour washing away half the leftover top soil we put on the grass after finishing the garden. But I still love it!

Even though we're STILL not back in our house 13 months after the flood, I still love it. I don't feel that anger towards the flood (or the Government, or the dam operators) that some people feel because I remember what it was like when Wivenhoe was at 15%. I feel grateful for every drop that goes on my garden, that allows me to water and shower and clean as often as I like.

And the cold, hard reality of the situation is I live in a flood zone and that means, sometimes, it floods. We've been unfortunate enough to see both ends of the spectrum in a very short period of time, and while it's caused heartache and dispair for different reasons, it's also made me appreciate water.

So I'll go out today and my brand new wedges will probably get all wet and muddy and my hair will probably look like a bird's nest even if I GHD it, but I won't complain. I'll come home to a healthy green garden, clean car, clean house and clean home.