Why Waste a Good Flood?

flood

This sentiment delivered with a laugh from a grizzled ex-Brit has now become part of my philosophy.

The wise words came from a cab driver conveying us to the Brisbane airport on the last day of a two-week, five city journey. Our knowledge of Brisbane had been limited. We knew it was situated on the gold coast of Eastern Australia. On the map it appeared as a convenient stopover from the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland on our way back to San Francisco through Sydney.

With few expectations we added the locale to the end of our itinerary. It turned out to hold discoveries in a trip had already that had already revealed the marvels of the Daintree rainforest to the north, the colorful Coral Gardens of the Great Barrier Reef, and west of Sydney the majestic Blue Mountains and the wondrous waterfalls that lie within. The magical Aussie landscapes aside — and dodging some of the stormiest summer weather patterns in 50 years — we also witnessed the resilience and optimism of a people that spoke volumes.

This is a country that now takes a certain pride in its rough and tumble convict past.  It’s come a long way. In 2011 the Australian economy was the fastest growing advanced economy in the world.

Brisbane suffered floods of biblical proportions in December 2010. We had heard that it had set new records for recovery but we were unprepared for just how little evidence of the flood remained. We had dinner on the balcony of this domed building (left) on our last night in town and saw first hand that even in the wake of destruction, life can be restored — and not just restored but reinvigorated.

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Why waste a good flood became the battle cry for a city bent on becoming better than it was before. Volunteers showed up with shovels and mops and got to work.

Australia held many other lessons. On our flight home I clicked though some of the nearly 600 images locked in our digital camera and saw evidence time and again of nature’s power to renew. The trees in the Blue Mountains that cling to their seeds until fires sparked by lightening allow them to spawn new forests. The bountiful coral in the reefs formed after tectonic shifts that shudder deep below the Earth’s surface. The strange and beautiful creatures that inhabit the rainforest adapting with each new generation or threat to survival. Life in all its splendor.

This trip was one we had planned to take for years. It was well worth the wait. In many ways it seemed all the better coming at a time in our lives after fully emerging from mourning. The years of painful introspection and catharsis fostered a new-found childlike wonder. We savored each moment. We not only made new memories including those with a blogging friend (thanks again for organizing the warm Aussie welcome, Barbie!) we made new friends, cuddled Koalas, bush-walked under waterfalls and snorkeled in a summer rainstorm.  It brought us home refreshed and eager to plan our next set of new adventures.
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If you’d like to read more about how women are reinventing their lives, check out this interview with Jody Day in The Independent called, “I May Not be a Mother, But I’m Still a Person.”

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10 thoughts on “Why Waste a Good Flood?

  1. dear Pamela,
    I am happy that you are safely back home. And that you had wonderful holidays in Australia.

    All I know is that I LOVED your book. And that it helped me a lot with dealing with infertility and accepting my childfree life.

    hugs,

  2. Thanks for this, Pam! I was also out of the country last week, and was having such a great time, I have a hard time remembering when the Not Having Kids issue loomed so large for me, especially in social interactions.

    As for the anonymous review — well, you always get one or two, and it was misleading. People who are naturally considerate simply don’t bring up the adoption issue — usually when you’re with non-Americans, they are intuitive about this, rightly thinking the decision to have children or not, or to be childless due to infertility or circumstance is simply not a polite inquiry.

  3. It’s always sad when a holiday (vacation to you North Americans) is over, but from my selfish point of view, it’s nice to have you back.

    Australia is a tough country, and Aussies are tough characters, you’re right. I’m glad you had a great time and that Brisbane has recovered – though I heard the other day there is an area the size of France that is flooded in inland NSW and Queensland.

    Next holiday, New Zealand?

    I haven’t reviewed your book on Amazon – but will do it. Your response was excellent.

  4. What a great attitude those Aussies have. So glad you had such a fabulous time on your trip — I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the photos you’ve shared on FB. (But as Mali said, great to have you back!)

  5. Heather

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. I am jealous and have always wanted to visit Australia.
    I read the anonymous review. It sounds like to me the author just read a few pages here and there about your book and did not take the time to understand it in its entirety. I was able to emotionally connect with the book from start to end. Just know that your book helps others sort through their thoughts and emotions.

  6. what a wonderful trip! sounds like quite the adventure. and you got to see barb too!

    it’s been on our list forever, along with NZ. sounds like it was worth the wait!

  7. Pamela

    Hey Luna: Great to hear from you! Yes — now we need to find out how to rendezvous sometime in the future…

  8. Jen

    I just read the interview you linked to, and am very inspired by the last paragraph where Jody Day says she is going to use her energy to enforce the tribe of the childfree – kudos to Jody!

    I have to ask you – as I am living in Australia and have had very little success in my research – are you aware of any groups (online or otherwise) like Gateway Women in this part of the world? It seems to be non-existent.

  9. Pamela

    Hi Jen,
    Thanks for your recent comments! Glad you’ve found the blog a welcoming place.

    While I’m not familiar with dedicated Austrialian groups like Gateway Women I do know that Gillian Guthrie organizes lunches for our tribe in and around Sydney. You can learn about her Aug 31 lunch in Kirribilli here: http://www.childlessreflections.com/childfree-lunches/

    If you can attend, please give Gillian my best regards…!

  10. Jen

    Thanks Pamela,
    This is another great resource – thank you very much! It gives me hope that there are things happening in this neck of the woods. Sydney’s a touch too far away, however Gillian has the ‘virtual’ lunch thing on her blog which I’m about to devour. (I also joined the Resolve community online last night and I can’t tell you how incredibly amazed I was at the information available on their site too).

    I will persist in my research as who knows – perhaps if there’s nothing available within driving distance, I should attempt to start something up myself. And if so, I’ll keep you posted :)

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