Last weekend we stopped by the side of a quiet road to have a rest at a picnic table overlooking some of the greenest scenery you could imagine. Beside our table stood an empty fruit shop that looked as if the jungle had started to reclaim it. A fresh vine had wound it's way through an old crooked external air conditioning unit and long grass stood brightly along the side walls. From the front, the azure store sign was contrasted with the cream and dusty pink vintage colour of an old restored Wolseley car.
It was a beautiful weekend filled with exploring and pleasant surprises at nearly every turn of the winding country roads. The only exceptions to the pristine scenery were several road closures due solely to the fact that the roads were actually missing in places. Huge chunks had washed away with the floods, leaving gaping holes... I thought I left that road right here? Oh right, there it is down the bottom of the gully in crumbly, muddy pieces...
The rapid responses by our State Emergency Service, amongst the dangerous conditions over the past month have not gone unnoticed by our little family. We have been struck by the endless support our community has received from the volunteers who live amongst us. I am very grateful and proud of these strong, determined and resilient individuals who have had to overcome dangerous hazards in order to restore our roads, our power and our lives to what they were before the wild weather arrived. Cyclones, frightening storms, gale force winds, incessant flooding and powerful churning high seas eroded so much of our beautiful coastline. Every aspect of my daily life was interrupted, slowed or halted completely and I'm not alone. What reduces the impact of the natural destruction of our homes and towns is knowing that there are people out there, not just the SES but everyday people in invisible superhero cloaks, who combine their efforts to bring hope to the rest of us.
I spend most afternoons at the beach with Coco. The majority of the time I've been collecting rubbish from the shoreline, of what was once a gorgeous sandy beach but is now covered in grey rocks and strewn with uprooted trees that have fallen from the waterlogged earth. I am saddened by how much junk washes up everyday but make it my little mission to collect every plastic container, wrapper, bottle and cap from the beach each day before the tide brings more rubbish.
It's only a little effort but is very rewarding and I do benefit from the exercise with the puppy at the same time. I now appreciate more than ever what the efforts of one person can do to protect and care for our environment and I'm extremely - from the bottom of my heart - grateful for each person who has had a hand in helping to make a difference.