In times of need…

I’ve been relaxing following a tiring week — I’m doing a different job where I work and there’s a lot of learning of new processes etc to deal with.  Thankfully I have a good decent group of people with which to share my work day.

I watched some TV and have now settled in to writing this post and catching up on the events of the day here and as it unfolds around the world. Last time I posted I mentioned spending less time attached to technology and achieving some other things that have been missing out.  So this past week I have been conscious of the time I spend online, and I think I’ve made a decent start to weaning myself off — it won’t be a total disconnection,  rather it’ll be a lot less dependency on it for entertainment or whatever one wishes to call it.  I still need it for my blog and the basic stuff.  Well, you get the idea.

I was going through some photos just now — a few that I took during the height of the floods that devastated my State, Queensland, in January of this year. I also took a look at a couple of sites that I had been following before the waters rose — one is called Brisbane Daily Photo, a photo blog of a British woman who made her home in the city a few years ago.  She lives in West End, the suburb in which I was located until I made the move north out of the city to Bribie Island.  West End is known for its cultural diversity.  It has numerous eating places, all good value and excellent cuisine; great little hole in the wall coffee places where the locals hang out from early morning to late evening.   The area has a lot of students, as well as old hippies and the like.  I moved there because it gave me a feeling of community.  Here’s a photo of a gathering of locals for a street party under the stars, outside Blackstar Coffee in West End.  I didn’t take the photo, but I was there — it was the last weekend of the Brisbane Festival, a 2 week event highlighting the city and its traditions and cultural aspects (I’ll be going along again this year, camera in hand).  For me, the highlight of the last night of the Festival was seeing and hearing the West End State School senior choir and Kev Carmody together. It gave much hope of reconciliation continuing to occur in our nation.

I had experienced that same feeling when I lived in Morgantown, West Virginia (USA) for some years.  The feeling that the neighbourhood would look out for you in your time of need.  It was quite demoralising/upsetting to see those areas where I had cycled, walked and enjoyed — all under feet and feet of water.  At this link, scroll to the last photo — that is the neighbourhood general store, and one I used to stop in on my way home when I would catch the city-cat from the city to the West End terminal and hop on a bus to my apartment.

So it came of no surprise to me to see the photos that Cara posted on her blog — of the strangers who appeared to help with the enormous clean up task once the waters had receded. The army came, the police, Red Cross, the state emergency workers, mums, dads, kids, people from all walks of life, too numerous to name.  To me that showed the value of community.  This scene and generosity was repeated in countless locations across Brisbane and beyond.  If you again scroll down, the second last photo is of people cleaning out the neighbourhood store.  This link brings home the damage to memories that floods and other natural disasters do — the owners of this house were away overseas when the floods hit, and had no way of getting the belongings out of harm’s way. Thankfully Cara and her friends were able to rescue thousands of photos and attempt to clean and dry them out, pretty successfully by the look of it.

Andrew Porfyri has an amazing record of the floods in West End.

It’s amazing isn’t it — the effect of living someplace and seeing it devastated by a natural disaster.  Just as those in earthquake zones, hurricane and cyclone areas, bushfire territories, ice/snow.  Nature can be so beautiful, yet so deadly and unforgiving.


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