This morning the wind woke me up. It’s waking up a lot of us who remember the storms of Yasi not to mention the flooding afterwards. We often get flooding up north, but the Yasi floods were full of debris, and on top of already coping with blown away rooves. Rain meant life felt even trickier for all those camping out and retrieving things from their properties and clearing roads was harder.
We know that was all a year ago, but our bodies feel and hear that wind throwing leaves, left over debris, and branches around – and can’t help but pay attention even when our minds think we can deal with it. In the same way my youngest feels thunder storms in his tummy and he doesn’t have control over it, not yet. My husband is always aware to make sure we drive when the roads are safe and to head home when floods threaten. He doesn’t want us to get stuck anywhere, and so we curtail conversations we’d love to have for longer and apologise – it’s time to go home while we still can.
It has been an amazing few days where I’ve felt the need to be with small understanding groups of people who get this feeling of slight apprehension when the wind blows.
In a radio interview I was doing I was listening to footage of our experience prior to being asked questions, and the emotions suddenly came to the surface and almost overwhelmed me. I did feel over Yasi – and had a lovely afternoon yesterday sharing stories of the brilliant events since Yasi with Emma and Leandro – and watching butterflies but listening to audio of us prepare and go through the cyclone that’s just very emotional still and it’s taking me I think unwillingly back to inside the experience of a year ago. Luckily the interviewer was so understanding as I explained how listening to that footage made me feel and was able to empathise without being trite about it so I got through the rest of the interview, partly by focusing on the stories of others and the team at ABC Open.
At a book launch True Spirit of Cyclone Yasi I notice that people are reflective, contemplative as we know there are people under tarps, and there’s so many more stories than can be fitting into the book of this experience. Launch goers smile almost hesitantly and there is much beneath the surface, but also much to celebrate. The scaffolds and clearances are still going on. Rebuilds are being halted by the rain. Yet, there is something trimphant in every time we come together and see the positive.
To understand how I feel if you weren’t in the cyclone – try going to visit the links I’ve put together in storify – Yasi in Storify – that will give you a glimpse into this experience, or buy Bernadette Lawson’s book True Spirit of Cyclone Yasi.
Here is a first draft of my early morning poem:
Wind mock me with memory
shock me with sounds of past long gone
mysterious and hiding all that moves
Turn me inside out like a shirt put on in the dark
and placing ridges on my outer being
where everyone can see I’m outside myself
remembering all that was
Turn your clouds into rainbows
and paisly patterns of the soul
Sprinkle brilliant flecks of colour
into stepping stones to the doorway of optimism
You laugh at me
knowing I love you when you’re a cool calming caress
to humidity and blazing eat your skin sunlight
I can sense the need for poems
as floods return to places they once were
and more disasters loom.
In poetry perhaps optimism can find a place as
fickle nature takes only a course it understands.
(c) June Perkins