Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Flooded-In but Loving Life"

That's how my good friend Bernie recently described our situation here in Maclean. She was responding to a friend who phoned inquiring about how she and the rest of the McGowan family were dealing with the extensive flooding that has taken place here in northern New South Wales and further north in south eastern Queensland. In many parts of these areas – including the Queensland capital of Brisbane – the floods have been quite devastating. To date 16 people have been reported killed, 53 reported missing, and tens of thousands evacuated from their homes.

Above right: My friends Bernie (front), Mim and Raphael.

Above: Looking toward Maclean across swathes of flood water
and a kangaroo-dotted paddock.

How did I get to be flood-bound in Maclean? Well, as I've noted previously, I'm here with members of the McGowan family – all of whom are dear friends and some of whom live just outside of Maclean. My plan was to spend a couple of days with them after attending the wedding of the eldest McGowan son in the coastal town of Kingscliff, 200 kilometres north of Maclean.

Above: The extended McGowan family. From left: Bernie, Tess, Maisy, Dominica,
Mim, Collette, Kristy, Jeremiah, Raphael, Iggy, Bartley, Victor and Mike
– Kingscliff, New South Wales, January 8, 2011.

On the day I was to return to my parents' home in Port Macquarie (January 11), the waters of the Clarence River rose and cut access from Maclean to the Pacific Highway, preventing the southbound bus service I was scheduled to travel on to Port Macquarie from reaching me. Since then the Pacific Highway itself has been cut at nearby Harwood.

Above left: With my friend Raph, waiting for the bus that would never arrive!

Raph and Mim were also prevented from returning to the Sunshine Coast where they live and work, while Mike's brother Bartley was prevented from returning to his home in Melbourne. Both Mike and Bernie are unable to travel to their workplaces in nearby Grafton. It's been this way for four days now. Hopefully things will clear up by the weekend.

Above (from left): Mim, Ig, Raph, Bernie, Mike and Bartley.

So, my friends – especially those of you in the U.S. who have been e-mailing me, concerned about my whereabouts and safety – I want to assure you that I'm quite safe, just stranded for a little while.

But I'm with friends and, while we're certainly keeping those who have been most impacted by these terrible floods in our thoughts and prayers, we also remain thankful for being alive, being together and being able to love life in the midst of the situation we currently find ourselves.

Following are some images of our life here in flooded-in Maclean.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Above: Iggy.

Above: Ig helps manage and staff the local gym.
In this picture he gives his sister Mim some tips on boxing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today was quite sunny and so we spent much of it working outside doing yard work.

Above and left: Mim and Raph take turns mowing the grass on a ride-on lawn mower.

Above: Taking the dogs for a walk.

Above: Relaxing after a hard day of yard work.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Above: Doesn't the yard look great?

Above: But there's still work to be done!

Above: Visiting the Maclean Lookout.

Above: Bernie and Mim.

Above: Raph, enjoying the sunny weather.

Above: With the winding contours of the Clarence River on the left, this image
clearly shows the extent of the flooding that has isolated the town of Maclean.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Some more jobs around the yard were completed today along with time spent relaxing in the hammock that was put up by Raph on Thursday. Then in the afternoon, Bernie, Raph, Mim and I traveled to the coastal spot known as Broom's Head. The road to this part of the coast has recently been reopened. Access to the Pacific Highway, however, remains blocked by flood waters.

Above: This look of mine is way too serious for the t-shirt I'm wearing!


Mareczku said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures. It is good to see all that green. Makes me feel a little warmer as it is 10 degrees here. (That is 10 degrees F not C.) Keep enjoying the special time with your friends.a0720

Mareczku said...

Just checked the weather again. Down to 5 degrees here and I am off to bed soon as it is almost midnight.

Unknown said...

Glad to hear you are safe and with friends. The pics are delightful especially the green grass. Gives us some hope that one day again it will be green here.
Quinn misses you!!!
Love to you and to all,
Noelle and the Morrison clan

Kathleen said...

I am so grateful to see you doing the mundane beautiful things with your friends while you are stranded. The pics are great. I just returned from a quartet rehearsal for our MPO salon on Jan. 29. Also, I loved the Stirring the Fire Retreat with the CSJ's today too.