Monday, 14 May 2012

COMMUNITY?


The third season is lacking the strength that made the first two worth their while. Just had to get that out of the way.

Our village considers itself community. We called the  local hall “the community centre” or simply “the hall” (was it really called Akitio County War Memorial?). We called the local leaflet “the community newsletter” (I’m quoting my memory here in consideration of being corrected by some who has certain facts on hand). And though there were many things that made me question the commonality of our community, now that I think on it, I remember a moment that was a shining example of community, though the extreme circumstance may have brought about access to a deeper or universal community rather than local.

The Flood

Enough said for some.

Not the biblical flood, though this one was biblical enough in it’s own way. After three days of the rain coming down in sheets we knew that it was going to flood. And this of course was cause  for excitement. It turned the dribble of a creek into an adventure land.
A creek ran straight through our property. In summer it would sometimes dry up, much to the chagrin of the eels and sundry other water-life. Which is ok but more curious than exciting when compared to school bus amounts of water hurtling past bumper to bumper. I would calculate the amount by comparing it to the school/local swimming as it demolished all the lower bridges over our creek and crept up our garden path. Dad started securing them with ropes after the first time. That didn’t always save them. Dead animals and dead trees would sometimes make an appearance, getting caught on things and generally making things worse. I would imagine the force of  this water. As you may be able to imagine these floods where opportunity for high jinks of all manner of form.

Getting back to The Flood.

After six days of this heavy rain thundering down on our roof we started to think that maybe it wasn’t going to be so good. There’s something disturbing about having to make sure anything you considered important was stacked on top of closets and shelves. Thinking about escape plans for various scenarios, such as: on top of that closet and then if it gets to high, the old, swim out the window and climb onto the roof.
The swollen creek would not stop. It rose higher and higher, as we watched through doors and windows as it surrounded us. Consider that the water level of this creek was generally three metres below the floor level of the house, when normal.
When it finally reached that floor level we were given the go ahead to abandoned ship. I remember running down one of the hallways as the air that was forced up through the floor boards made the carpet billow and roll. Surreal.
Out the windows to be carried to “dry land” by an amused volunteer fire brigade. The “dry land” being the road, our street, which, being raised, was seeming to stop the flood from reaching the houses on the other side of the street. Our house being the only habitat on our side.

This was followed by sleeping on old lumpy spare mattresses at Mrs. Pomana Across The Road’s. And funny clothes and food, I think there was a rice pudding with lemon? Some things are hazy. Those days we went from being newcomer outsiders to becoming outsiders that belonged to the community or the community knew about. It’s ok, fifty percent of the community were outsiders, it’s not a big deal. Funny the effect of Acts of God.

The aftermath in the house was weird, but that’s another story.

And to think that the local belief was that that creek followed a fault line just makes the location even more exciting. Add the gale-force winds and it’s location, location, location.

10 comments:

  1. How old were you, for this epic naturaldisasterevent?

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  2. Dean pelton would have loved to be carried to safety by firemen

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    1. Not enough Community references you think?

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  3. That was a fun and vivid story.

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  4. oh goodness, my avatar and your blog - their colours fight!

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  5. When it floods at home the river rises and all the kids up the valley have to be sent home from school in case the valley gets cut off, AGAIN. When the rain stops there are dead sheep trapped in trees in the swimming hole.

    The kids who get stranded get to sleep on the lumy mattresses of the Mrs. Pomanas. Community works when it has to. Yay community.

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    1. The valley so low. Yeah, I'm not sure if I like flood stories.

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