This was not the blog post I intended to publish today. It will wait for a few days. I thought you might like to see what is going on in this little corner of the world. In the background are the sounds of sweeping, chain saws, leaf blowing, power sprayers and pumps. The sounds of humans cleaning up.
Yesterday started out blissfully domestic for me. Having only returned two days prior from a week away I was baking bread and ironing all the washing I’d done since our return. I’m always happy to have a day at home when I don’t have to go anywhere. Also, we had rain the night before, and I’d taken a few photos of the sun sparkling on the moisture laden plants in the garden.
And I worked on the aforementioned blog post, so a nice bit of creativity mixed with domesticity.
Despite the predictions, around 2pm I noted that we had not had any rain as yet, and there appeared none on the horizon. By 3.30 my husband rang from his desk at the Uni saying, have a look at the sky toward Mt. Gillen, it’s very dramatic. I said, yes, I’ve just taken a photo of it. Everything had changed and was looking ominous, but no severe storm warnings that I was aware of. By 4pm all hell broke loose. The hail and wind was upon us before I knew what had happened. I had been at the stove, cooking soup for dinner when I realised I shouldn’t be there, near the window. I ran for the hallway, the strongest point in the house. From there I could see the ferocity of the wind and I could hear the hail smashing the skylights in both bathrooms at either ends of the hallway. I was deeply hoping it didn’t smash the windows. We have a lot of double glazed glass. The 90kph winds were driving icy projectiles at a nearly horizontal angle so that they bounced off the glass and piled at the base of the windows or walls, or were carried away in the river of water flowing down our breezeway.
There was a large tree at the northwest corner of our property, but it was on the neighbour’s land. Twice before, both times when I was in the house during a storm, huge limbs had broken out of the tree and fallen on our patio and damaged it, one nearly missing the corner of the house. Our neighbour didn’t seem to want to do much about the tree so it regrew. But now virtually the entire tree was laying horizontally across his pool, breaking the fence and damaging tiles and the cover. Certainly that tree will not be bothering us any longer, nor will we get the much appreciated shade from it.
Finally, my husband was able to get home from the Uni, through flooded roads that were unrecognisable due to water coverage. He told me one house up the street from ours had water flowing through it! By the time he arrived I had set up buckets and mopped up places where the wind had driven the water through any likely crevices. A rammed earth house is not known for it’s tight fitting joins, but we’d never in 15 years had anything quite like this.
The rain and hail came in waves, with a bit of sun peeking through, just to relax us into a false sense of security. Sure enough, both bathroom skylights resembled swiss cheese and there were small hail stones and debris on the floors. But really, if the rain was going to come through, they were the two best places for it to happen because there were drains in the floors, and the tiles had a wet proofing membrane painted on underneath them, so they are likely to dry out ok. Not so sure about the joinery in one of the bathrooms as it seems to have absorbed quite a bit of moisture.
After we had cleaned most of what we could, and called emergency services, I got back to making the soup. Once again, I was at the kitchen sink, topping and tailing green beans. I glanced over my shoulder, toward the mountain. In a break from the precipitation the sun shone through. As the warm rays hit the piles of hail and ice, fog rose and an etherial light settled over the whole area. Neighbourhood children came running out from everywhere to play in it. It was as if Mother Nature was trying to make up for the havoc she had just wreaked.
Emergency services came about 9.30pm last night to assess the damage, but they said the crews were all so busy it would be a while to get to us. I’m sure there are many people worse off than us so we will wait our turn. They told us there was another storm cell coming. They were right. More hail and more pieces of skylight joined them on the floors, but nothing as bad as the first wave.
The plants in the garden that had recovered surprisingly well from the grasshopper plague are now laying in shreds again. My newly planted herb garden has had the shock of its young life.
But all in all, we are lucky, and we know it. We await the next surprise Life has in store for us.