Australia · floods · history · Mount Warning · rain · realities · remembering · rivers · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

If you ask any old local, they will tell you this weather is to be expected.

The worst of the flood water has hit the low-lying villages of Tumbulgum and Condong today, with all residents being told to evacuate. I received a text message from the State Emergency Service (SES) advising of the evacuation, and posted the information to a local Murwillumbah community page that I am a member of. While on the page, I scrolled through a few announcements and photos added by other members. The flood waters are making a bit of a mess of the area, which is what happens when we have heavy and consistent rain. It’s sad to see the damage, and although I have lived in low-lying Murwillumbah myself and have been directly affected by flood waters, my concern for the residents of nearby, flood affected towns never wavers.

If anything, my concern now is greater. The population of the area has grown significantly over the years, therefore more people are affected when the river breaks its banks, which is what it did today at Tumbulgum. Over the years, however, there has been a shift in peoples’ attitudes towards flooding, and the suggested ways in which we should cope. Once, a new family to the area would discuss the situation over the fence with their neighbours, and learn what to expect and how to prepare for the rising waters. Now, the multitudes turn to social media. While the internet is a faster means of alerting the community, it is also a source of unnecessary alarm within the community. Social media is a platform where old locals and new residents alike can voice their opinion, be their opinion educated or otherwise. And I have noticed that it is mostly the relatively new people to town who feel they are justified in spruiking their ill-informed opinions.

After I posted the information regarding the evacuation notice from the SES, which included information on the designated evacuation sight in Murwillumbah, almost immediately I had a reply from Ms. Over-reactor – the main road into town is closed, how are people supposed to get there? Boat, I replied. I also added that the SES would take care of everything. A further reply was added by Ms. Over-reactor – thank goodness, she exclaimed.

I’m no authority on the matter, but my brief interaction with another community member was an example of one of several over-reactions I have read today. Are people spending so much time on social media, I wonder, that they have failed to discuss the possibility of the Tweed River flooding at some stage with the locals, prior to a flood? Did they not wonder what the white flood-level posts with black measurements painted on them, positioned strategically along the river banks where people would notice, were there for?

Already, the “blame climate change” brigade are making sure their voices are heard. This is proof of climate change, they wail. We must be kinder to the planet if we want this flood devastation to end, they proclaim. Historically, the weather has been changing ever-so-slightly for as long as time. Occasionally the earth has been subjected to a big shift – think the Ice Ages. Industry caused a few problems with the burning of the ozone layer, but measures were taken to reverse the damage. Yes, climate change does exist, just as it always has, so why is it talked about more now than ever before?

I believe the answer to that question involves a notable shift in people, rather than any notable shift in the temperatures. People have been handed the opportunity to be heard on a silver platter in recent years. The internet, and yes, social media, allows everyone to voice their opinions. Instantaneously, a previously unknown person on the other side of the world can have a knee-jerk reaction to a comment without first taking the time to consider the opinion. They respond. Before you know it, a massive row is bouncing back and forth across the planet between two strangers. Others join in, and others, and more and more people voice their opinions, becoming irate over … what exactly? Does the one-hundredth person who joined the argument – because that is what it has developed into – even know how it started? Do they care how it started? Or are they too busy “taking a stance” on the latest topic, complete with buzz-words and hyperbole?

Meanwhile, the old farmer from far northern New South Wales ponders the questions of climate change. He gazes into the flood waters and assures his neighbour, speaking in his gravelly old voice, “Nah, this isn’t climate change, saw the river rise higher than this back in ’74, I did. That’s why they built the levy bank along the town side of the river. You wouldn’t credit the rubbish we saw floatin’ through town that year. That’s when the water lapped the ceiling of all the shops in town. Same thing happened in ’54 too, the old folk used to say. Yeah mate, seen it all before …”

If you ask any old local, they will tell you this weather is to be expected. We live in a flood zone. It’s a subtropical climate, which means our rainy season arrives during summer – it’s summer now. There’s a major river in the area, the Tweed River, which floods, even when the rain isn’t pelting down. Today is one of those days – there’s hardly any rain about, but the run-off from the western catchment areas has now reached the low-lying areas. The river has swelled up from the excess water runoff and broken its bank, and people of the towns and villages are being evacuated.

And it’s not climate change, we’ve seen it all before, Ask any old local. They’ll set you straight on the matter.



Australia · Changes · daughter · family · flowers · granddaughter · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · palm trees · realities · spring · subtropical weather · Tweed Valley

No Mountain Today …

Today I haven’t seen Mount Warning at all, not even for a second. There is no rain about, so I can’t blame the whiteness on distant rain. The day has been warm, dull, and humid, so perhaps it is heat-haze. It has also been extremely windy all day, so my granddaughter and I couldn’t even enjoy some time in the garden today while she was visiting. So indoors we remained, playing with farm animals, reading books, and watching some cartoons on TV. It is easy to keep Aurora occupied, both indoors and outside, and she is wonderful company. I must admit to being a tad tired tonight though after a whole day with my lovely little visitor.

Considering the lack of an interesting mountain photo today, it is a good opportunity to share a couple of photos taken during the past week. First I have a photo of a cute little Honeyeater who visited my back garden recently. If it wasn’t for the rustling of the palm leaves, I wouldn’t have known he was there.

The gum tree the trio of Kookaburras are perched in is right down the back of our garden. I realised these three were there when they had a laughing competition with another group of distant kookaburras. I’d love to know what they were saying to each other.

The last photo is from May. I came across this photo when looking for flower photos for The Week of Flowers posts, so saved it as an extra to share this week. It is a beautiful bunch of flowers my daughter – Aurora’s mummy – gave me for my birthday.

So here we are, the 30th of November, the last day of spring. It is with a touch of trepidation that I will turn the page of my calendar tomorrow morning to the first day of summer. Every year, I try to find positive aspects of my least favoured season of the year, and by the end of summer I always look back and think the heat wasn’t as difficult to cope with as I imagined it would be. It’s a bit like a visit to the dentist really, an unpleasant thought until it’s over. Once again, I have my fingers crossed that we will have rain without floods and heat without melting! I learned many years ago that when living in a subtropical climate, it’s useless wishing for no extreme heat and no cyclonic rain. Mother Nature will do as she does regardless. 🙂


Australia · books · challenges · realities · writing

Excited trepidation

Sometimes, even birds get in a tizz.
Sometimes, even birds get in a tizz.

This morning, the university study schedule and information has been released for the two units I am enrolled in for session one, which begins next week, and as I printed out Study Guides and Unit Information Guides this morning I felt the familiar bubble of excited anticipation I usually feel at the beginning of a new learning journey.

Mingled with the excitement, however, I also experienced a fairly large chunk of trepidation.

I’m enrolled in the Associate Degree in Creative Writing and have so far completed three of the sixteen units. The first two units, which I completed well before the end of last year in session two of the study year, progressed wonderfully. Nothing untoward happened, I learned lessons which I will continue to carry with me throughout the associate degree and beyond, and I became friendly with some like-minded, ‘mature aged’ students who are experiencing a similar learning process to my own. I took the opportunity to complete my third unit over the Christmas/New Year period, during session three, again feeling eagerness and anticipation over the content of the coming twelve weeks study and assignment tasks.

It was during the latter weeks of this third unit that I began to feel the effects of information overload, brought about by political leanings, opinionated unit content and the evident desire of the authors of the learning materials to neatly package groups of people together in what they described as minority group and label each group with its (apparent) appropriate sticker.

At the point in the unit that I began questioning the learning process, we were discussing the book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

An academic may, upon the mention of Jane Eyre, nod knowingly and mutter ‘ah yes, Jane Eyre‘, whilst realising the popular train of thought offered by university lecturers and those people who possess a biting, critical and analytical mind for all texts written since the beginning of time. For the uninitiated student such as myself, however, the Study Guide materials and ensuing discussions came as something of a shock.

What did I expect when I enrolled in this unit? Jane Eyre was listed as one of the Written Texts students would study during this unit, along with several other books. I’ve read Jane Eyre and although I found BrontĂ«’s 19th-century style of speech difficult to read in the beginning, after the first few pages I began to enjoy the experience of reading a book written authentically in the time frame. Historical writing, such as Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, whilst written historically, were not written in 1743, the year in which the female protagonist, Clare Randall, found herself after falling through a time-warp amid the stones at Craigh na Dun during a visit to Scotland in 1946. Jane Eyre, on the other hand, was published in 1847 and written during a time when females were not regarded as having anything worthwhile to say and not accepted as authors worthy of publication. Charlotte BrontĂ«, like other female authors of her time, stepped around this technicality by releasing her early writing under the nom de plume of Currer Bell, a fact which I found fascinating and a sign of those times. During reading Jane Eyre I marvelled at the changes in society during the past one-hundred-and-seventy years and silently thanked the suffragettes, and various other the women throughout time who have fought the battle, and won, for equal right for women. I had expected discussions throughout this unit to be comparisons of writing styles during various time frames; I expected admiration for female authors, such as Charlotte BrontĂ« who led the way in fighting a male dominated society, hence breaking down the barriers, enabling the opportunity for me to write today.

I was wrong. We were expected to read the assigned texts from the only point of view we have available to us, which is now, placing all of the judgements we know to be ‘correct’ today, on a text which was written one-hundred-and-seventy years ago. Apparently, Charlotte BrontĂ« wrote from a narrow and limited point of view and should have known better than to portray Rochester’s first wife as a Creole, which (apparently) emphasised the bigoted outlook of the English.

This line of discussion, (especially relating to the apparent prejudice of English folk whose soul purpose was to colonise and the entire world) was held right at the time when heated debate was rife over Donald Trump’s controversial election as the American President. And perhaps this unit’s discussion board conversations fell victim of the overflow of anguish spilling across from the other side of the world. It didn’t help the situation any when these events coincided with Australia celebrating yet another ‘Australia Day’, meant to bring the citizens of this country together as we sing the praises of the country we love, yet in recent years has been described as ‘invasion day’ by some people who are indigenous, part indigenous or indigenous sympathisers in this country. Before I realised what was happening, the discussion board debate turned political. In the university environment, where the study guides describe our once heralded ‘Australia Day’ as invasion day (a point which I usually overlook, and read on) my once-expected-to-be pleasurable debate and learning experience turned into an emotionally draining nightmare.

If you have read this far, and are a regular reader of my blog posts, no doubt you are asking why I chose to participate in the discussion board debacle, when it obviously upset my equilibrium. Ten percent of the grade awarded at the end of the unit is assessed on personal participation to the discussion board. I seriously considered whether it was worth the ten percent, but as the unit was nearing the end when I became positively rattled, I chose to stick it out.

As I begin to study two new units, again verging into the unknown, I have not developed any expectations of the unit content. I now know to expect the unexpected, however, the trepidation is there. I do not wish to feel like an emotionally drained, rung-out old dish cloth at the end of what should be a pleasant learning journey. I hope that this most recent experience is a one-time event. I question how the topic of discussion I endured will help me to become a better writer, (which is why I signed up for the Associate Degree in Creative Writing) and will remain open to a proverbial penny dropping moment in the future.

For assignment 4, discussion board participation, my grade was a high distinction, yet in hindsight, I feel I paid too a high a price for the ultimate accolade, which was such a small aspect of the unit.

And please, anyone who feels inclined to comment regarding anything political or controversial, I respectfully ask you to please refrain from any such observations. These mentions were only made to describe a situation, not to open further debate.

Thank you, dear reader, for lending your ear (eye?) as I again venture into the unknown, this time literally prepared – in a suit of armour.

A Sense of Spirit · making contact · realities · signs from spirits · sisters · unbreakable bonds

Are Tarot Cards Really Necessary?

During the final few weeks of my mother’s time on this earth, spent in hospital, with my father and eldest sister constantly at her bedside, I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to her, to ask the questions I wished to ask or to discuss matters with her that only she would understand.

Mum tried to tell me things but with Dad and my sister as an audience, I know I didn’t react to what she told me in the same way as I would have, if we were alone.

If I cried when I visited my mother, Dad asked me not to let Mum see how upset I was, as it may upset her to see me that way. I had wanted to cry over the impending loss of my mother; I didn’t want her to think I had become so hardened to her illness than I no longer felt emotion, but Dad was of the “old school”, believing Mum must be protected from adverse emotion in her delicate state.

I don’t blame my father for feeling that way. I know that he believed it was for the best.

I didn’t.

The relationship I had with my mother had been one of trust and open honesty for all of my life. Mum and I had raging arguments at times, due to our honesty with each other, but neither of us ever held a grudge. As soon as we were through with our argument, Mum would say, “Go and put the kettle on and make us a cup of tea”. A cup of tea made everything right, you know. Mum was an English lady, who knew within her heart and soul that a shared cup of tea would fix anything that ailed her world.

And it did.

For the two of us it did, anyway, although none of my sisters seemed to have the same capacity to get over a row with Mum in the same way as I did. I still believe the relationship that Mum and I shared was unique on so many levels.

My mother has been gone since 1993 and back then I had one child at school, one at pre-school and my baby who was only nine months old, a baby who my mother had said was “her baby”.

I dropped my two elder children off at school one morning and on the spur of the moment decided to call in and see Mum at the hospital in the morning, rather than waiting until the afternoon when I would be collecting the older two from school, as I had planned.

My baby and I walked into Mum’s hospital room and instead of seeing my father and sister at her side, I found my Mum alone, lying peacefully in bed in the coma she had been in for the last couple of days.

Without giving my actions a second thought, I walked over to my Mum’s bedside and began talking to her by telling her I was visiting her with my baby and that Dad and my sister hadn’t arrived yet. I chatted away to her for a while, in the same way that I would have spoken to her had she been conscious.

It would have been amazing to hear her voice again, but it knew that wouldn’t happen ever again. I stroked her smooth face and her silver hair. I looked at her hands, her strong, healing hands, trying with all my might to embed the image of my beautiful mother permanently within my mind’s eye.

Before I left the room I told her something that I had wanted to say to her when she was still conscious. I told my mother that I knew she would want to contact me from the other side and if she felt the need to contact me for any reason, to let me know and I would find a psychic, or tarot card reader, to help her get through to me.

Mum and I had often made visits to such people, with Mum telling me that she wished she had the same ability that they did. Mum said she wasn’t afraid of psychic phenomena, and I shared her beliefs. They came as naturally to me as breathing, most likely due mostly to my mother sharing her beliefs with me for my entire life.

Up until this particular day, before leaving the hospital, I had said to my Mum, “See you later Mum. I love you”, not having the strength to say goodbye. I hadn’t wanted to say the final goodbye to this precious person who meant the world to me.

This morning had been different though. Mum and I had spent time together, alone, time to communicate.

Time for me to realise that I had to let her go.

She rested so peacefully and I indulged my eyes for the last few moments, again memorising every minute detail about her.

I noticed a pulse beating slowly at the side of her neck. Ah, so she was still alive, I thought to myself, although her spirit seemed not to be with the body I looked at lying in the hospital bed.

Leaning over my mother I whispered to her, “Goodbye Mum. I love you”, and left the room.

Later in the day I found out that a nurse had watched me leave the room and went in to check on my mother.

She was gone.

Down in the hospital car park I strapped my baby into her car seat and turned on the ignition.  On the radio that morning they were playing hit songs of 1975 and the song that came onto the radio was “All by Myself” by Eric Carmen, one of Mum’s favourite songs and one which she felt had been written just for her.

“All by myself,
Don’t wanna be, all by myself anymore.”

The years passed and I waited for some kind of sign from my mother, but there wasn’t one. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t, or couldn’t, get through to me. In life, we had talked constantly and I believed with every fibre of my being that Mum hadn’t left me, that she was beside me always.

So where was the sign to contact the psychic? I’d been waiting, and looking, and there was nothing!

This lack of contact began to play on my mind and I thought back over the last couple of years to anything that may have lead to a sign that I may have missed, but every incident that I recalled had gone nowhere; every question I had come up with had been answered, every problem I had, had been solved.

The contact had been right there in front of me, the whole time! Mum had been helping me through every day, without me realising it!

Perhaps grief had shut my senses down; I’m not sure what had happened to me. All I do know is that once I opened my heart and listened with my soul, she could speak to me.

The tarot cards and the psychics are not needed to bring my mother and me together. There is an invisible golden thread joining us together, which can never be broken. She will never leave me, nor I her. She knows she can release the thread more these days as I don’t rely on her as much as I used to, but she knows when I need her. And she is there.

Photo credit ~

A Sense of Spirit · concepts · realities

Thoughts as I Press My Nose against the Window of Life

“Every new idea begins with a concept and an imaginary glance into the future. Where our imaginations perceive this idea will take us is crucial to the distance we are prepared to travel with our concept. It’s all in our minds, in our perception of what the future may bring”.

The creation of this website took months, in my mind.

The whole concept took hold easily enough and the content has always been there by the bucket-load, in my mind.

During the last year I must have written over one-hundred articles to publish here, in my mind.

After months of agonising over the question of whether or not starting up this site was a valid concept, a burst of courage finally saw “A Sense of Spirit” hitting the computer air-waves in March last year.

Whatever became of the courage I had within me, back in March 2011, back in the day when I believed in my ideas and knew that the blogging world would accept the theory behind the concept of writing about unproven realities?

In actual fact, that is exactly what “A Sense of Spirit” is all about ~ A Series of Unproven Realities.

Constantly I have asked myself, how many people are there out there, who also, like myself, can see and feel these unproven realities?

Will I be questioned and judged on my stories of what is fact (to me) or questioned harshly on my theories? (I do not wish to have to defend my beliefs, nor do I wish to question those who do not have the same beliefs as me).

Worse still, will I be ridiculed?

Are there even any like-minded people who will read my stories and see them for what they are, accepting the sincerity in which my stories are shared?

Will anyone feel compelled to share their own stories here?

There are too many questions floating around in my head. Don’t you agree?

While my heart tells me “go for it!” the practical reality in my head, (which I am usually loathe to listen to, especially if it precedes the story of my heart, although it doesn’t in this case), is this ~ I already have three, yes three, subscribers to “A Sense of Spirit”!

Not bad at all, if you ask me, when you consider I have added just one post, almost a year ago, and an “about” page! (Thank you to my three subscribers. I hope you are all reading this and will accept my gratitude for your offerings of encouragement).

Who knows, maybe there are some more folk out there who won’t see this site as being complete madness and enjoy what they read. How cool would it be to have even more subscribers?!

In actual fact, using my senses to feel the unseen and also listening to and following my intuition comes as naturally to me as breathing. It always has, as far back as I can remember.

Now I am ready, the time has come for me to stop pressing my nose against the window and become a participant in my own creation. I’m ready to go out and dance in the sunshine and the rain.

I do hope you will join me.