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Making do

January 23, 2011

The recent floods in Queensland were a very sobering reminder of how life can change in a matter of minutes. My heart really goes out to the people affected by the floods, in particular to those who have lost loved ones. The impacts of this natural disaster will continue to be felt for a very long time.

When we first started hearing that the floods were headed for Brisbane, I was worried that the Gold Coast would be next. I rang my husband and asked him to gather our important documents like passports (forgetting insurance papers!) and discs of photos from our computer. I tried to think of what we really didn’t want to lose in the flood. Apart from our house itself, I couldn’t really think of anything. Of course it would be devastating to have your life’s possessions washed away but I realised that really all that mattered was our own safety. As long as we (especially our children) were ok and together, we would be alright, we would get through.

Later, I saw footage of a family on the top floor of their home as they filmed the rising flood outside and watched their possessions floating away. The woman called out despairingly as her lounge suite was carried away by the flood: “my lounge! my lounge!” And in that moment, I suddenly didn’t mind my shabby old hand-me-down lounge anymore. The flood has cured me of any desire to have expensive furniture. My thoughts turned to people who have spent years building up beautiful collections of antique furniture. I wonder if they lost most of it or if it was damaged beyond repair. An expensive new lounge is replaceable – especially if it’s insured – but antiques aren’t. I’ve always loved antiques but now I’m content to admire them in other people’s homes! I think I’d rather concentrate on paying off my mortgage sooner and not worrying when my kids are bouncing all over the sofa and doing somersaults (“look at me mama, look at me!”) or my friend’s toddler scribbles all over the back of the lounge (scallywag but much loved!!).

I feel a new appreciation for my family life and the life that we are creating for ourselves here in the ecovillage. I’m told that this area would not experience the kind of flooding that occurred in Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and so on. I hope not, but it has been good for me to get a bit of perspective on what’s really important. Family time has taken on new meaning and significance for us. It is unspoken but I can sense that both my husband and I are treasuring time together and as a family more than before the floods.

And as for shabby, there’s always recovering. We picked these two chairs up from the side of the road some years ago. This summer, I recovered them and our front deck now feels so different with my “brand new” deck chairs!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 11:09 pm

    Wow – love your new deck chairs – you clever thing you! And agree about the floods – they bring perspective for us all on what really counts! xo

  2. January 24, 2011 1:04 pm

    love the new chairs. and i also saved photos to discs, gathered together birth certificates etc. we lived in northwest NSW in the 1974 floods and our town had a levy bank so lots of folks came into town. all us children were flown out to sydney when it became too dangerous. I was 8 and my sister 5. my mum had a Flood Box which contained photo albums, passports, papers. then when we moved to the blue mountains and in 1976 we had the worst fires in 70 years and were evacuated from our house. fortunately the Flood Box had become the Fire Box. i am now putting together my own Flood/Fire Box and there’s no room for furniture or cups or clothes 🙂

  3. February 1, 2011 11:43 am

    You did great with the chairs! I love that shade of blue.

    Also a timely reminder that I need to go through our important documents and consolidate them in case of an emergency evacuation.

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