Small Lives Living Large Before the Flood

Small snail on a dragon’s wing © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2022

As we gardeners in the other half of the world, the southern hemisphere, bid a fond farewell to summer, I thought about some of the natural highlights around me.

The coffee bean tree is laden down with green berries. The agapanthus flowered abundantly for the first time in four years. The lawns are lush, the weeds are going feral. Every garden is flourishing, flowers and green foliage abound. Shrubs, hedges and trees are taller and their leaves are broader. Insects are so noisy the sound gets inside your head.

It has been a smorgasbord of a summer for the plant, animal, bird, reptile and insect domains in my suburb. Oh, and I just found out that snails are from the phylum Mollusca family. I am loathe to mention the toads but they relish the dampness at night courtesy of La Niña.

The Orchard Butterfly is our biggest and today I spied a huge one drying its wings during a brief respite between showers before fluttering free from the mandarin tree.

Scrub turkeys are getting bolder, scratching garden beds and terrorising cats. Birds generally are spoilt for choice when it comes to food and where to build a nest. But like homemakers everywhere, they have to make a good decision. The eagle-eyed hunters are watching, waiting, taking their time. Even the possums are walking more leisurely across our roof.

Actually the agapanthus have already been and gone. There was a sea of them in the back paddock but due to a computer malfunction those early photographs are not available – c’est la vie.

GOODBYE SUMMER

Birds sing at 5am,
grasshoppers hop,
lawnmowers til noon,
cold drinks and ice-cream for arvo tea,
pray for a cool breeze,
clothes stick to skin,
a quick swim,
a light dinner,
air-con fades away,
windows open to humidity,
can’t sleep,
hoping no holes in the flyscreen,
late summer storm rattles the house,
memories rattle through my mind.

GBW 2022

Summertime sundown © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2022

As the Australian pop rock band GANGgajang so lyrically sang:

“Out on the patio we’d sit, And the humidity we’d breathe, We’d watch the lightning crack over canefields. Laugh and think, this is Australia.”

Full lyrics https://www.lyrics.com/artist/GANGgajang/212403

Our cat JoJo is a respectful blue-tongue lizard watcher and a keen rodent catcher. However, I am worried about a white ant termite nest beside the house. Never seen one before but I know they are voracious eaters, chomping through wood at a great rate. The pest control people are swamped with work at this time of year. Fortunately cats and termites are not the least bit interested in each other.

Australian summertime will soon hand over the weather to autumnal March. Cooler maybe, my advice is still wear a hat and sunscreen. Speaking from experience, I personally would not participate in a fun run unless it ends at the local swimming pool. Afterwards I would never ever eat greasy takeaway food. Ah, but those hot chips with salt and vinegar…

 Gretchen Bernet-Ward

** NEWSFLASH ** As I proof-read this post the city was already soaking from heavy rain and now the wet weather has continued in earnest. Day and night torrential rain has fallen, flooding large parts of Brisbane and South East Queensland causing major havoc to housing, business, roads, rivers and creeks. Sadly lives have been lost. About an hour ago we had a power failure. It is drenching, pounding rain, the air is humid, the sky dull grey. From overflowing guttering to washing away bridges, fast flowing flood waters are powerful and dangerous, carrying a multitude of unseen debris. Stay dry, stay safe. As the saying goes “If it’s flooded, forget it”. GBW 2022

Our La Niña Summer Rain

Rain dripping through the trees © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2022

Summer January 2022 and Queensland has been blessed by La Niña (or buffeted by her) experiencing high winds, thunder, lightning, pelting tropical rain, flooding rivers, and vigorous plant and wildlife growth.

Plus an unexpected visit of tsunami waves from Tonga’s cataclysmic volcanic eruption. I actually heard the deep eerie rumbles. The sound crossed the Pacific Ocean to arrive thousands of kilometres away in Brisbane. Next morning the sunrise had a golden orange hue, created by volcanic ash fallout. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Kingdom of Tonga and Pacific island nations, and to aid, search and rescue teams during the difficult and heart-breaking times ahead.

For now, I sit on the verandah in the humidity watching the raindrops fall on damp leaves and recall James Whilt’s imaginative poem ❤️ Gretchen Bernet-Ward

The Rainstorm

by

James W. Whilt

*

Here in the deep tangled forest
All is quiet and still,
While far to the west the thunder,
Re-echoes from hill to hill.


And the lightning’s flash, ever vivid,
In great gashes knives the air;
The rain comes down in torrents,
A deluge everywhere!


Bathing the heat-sick flowers
That they may bloom once more;
Painting the grass a greener hue,
That grows by our cabin door;


Making the pastures fresher,
For the cows and shepherd’s herds,
Making the pools by the road-side —
Bath tubs for the birds.


Then the thunder peals louder and louder,
Firing its shrapnel of rain.
The clouds charge after each other,
And the drouth is defeated again.


Then through a rent in the clouds
The sun’s searchlight casts its ray,
And the Rain-God looks over the valley
And sees the result of the fray.


And as He sees his conquest,
His victory’s flag is unfurled,
In a beautiful coloured rainbow —
He is telling all of the world.


What a victory was his, what a triumph!
It’s flashed down the Milky Way,
Then the sentinel stars dot the heavens,
And the dew-drops sound taps for the day.

*

Visit https://discoverpoetry.com/poems/poems-about-rain/

Poems number 24 and 25

Summertime rainstorm © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2022

Australia Day 2019

aussie icon australia day 2019

Long weekend

Hot weather

Stretch and yawn

Shorts and t-shirt

Bushells cuppa

Vegemite on toast

Barbecue smoke

Burned sausages

Tomato sauce drips

Potato salad

Paper plates sag

Pavlova sweetness

Dry lamingtons

Lemonade spiders

Cricket match

Afternoon sleep

Bonfire crackling

Eucalyptus spits

Singalong

Mosquitoes bite

Humid night

Ceiling fan

Beach tomorrow

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

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HOMEMADE AUSSIE PAVLOVA is a baked crusty meringue with a soft fluffy centre, topped with whipped cream and sweet tangy seasonal fruits. Melts in your mouth!