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From Fire to Flooding

It’s been a tempestuous end of year/ birthing of a new year here in Queensland around the Tamborine Mountain area (Scenic Rim). Having a tornado-style weather event (the ferocity of which has never been experienced before in this area) was scary, and sadly, resulted in a few deaths. 

For my husband and I, being without power for three days (from Christmas night) was annoying, especially enduring the daily above 35-degree Celsius temperatures. It was a small price to pay, however, when others no longer have a roof over their heads or are still enduring a lack of electricity because of a power station being ripped apart and 20 km of broken power lines …

Books and Things

rom Fire to Flooding (all within a month)!

All of this, just a few weeks after concerning fires that were whipped up by the hot, dry, and gusty winds. These hungry demons eagerly soaked up the last of the remaining moisture in parched dams after a very dry spring. This had left us in a drought situation that everyone prayed would break soon. It certainly did!

I am constantly reminded of how life mimics nature. Just when we might think that we’ve had a truly bad run, things can start to go right. That angst that clawed at our stomach linings in the wee hours of the morning suddenly dissipates as if it were never there in the first place.

Instead of becoming cynical and bitter at the yo-yo of life, it’s an ever-evolving opportunity to learn and prepare and, if we can, find some humour to laugh at ourselves and the vagaries that make up our days. For if everything was peaceful and comfortable, would we not become fat and bored?!

So, let’s embrace the challenges. Let us get stronger with each ‘knock’ we receive and learn to shake it off behind us; there might be tears now and then, but washing away that hurt and anger is a good thing (in my book).

Most importantly, let’s remember to laugh and delight in new discoveries about ourselves and others. 

We can become so involved in our own lives that we can spiral downwards quickly, but if we think we had it bad, my Italian parents survived the Second World War and endured hardships that make our experiences pale beside them.

The following excerpt is from Goodbye to Italia. It is 1945, in Torino, Northern Italy, and my mother is eleven years old. They have survived a long, cold winter, but finally, spring is in the air.

The tanks are still stationed in Piazza Vittorio. The feast of Pasqua (Easter), has come and gone. Despite some far distant memory that Mamma and Nonna talk about of eating chocolate as an Easter tradition, we do not get any. In fact, it is a blessing if we have anything to eat at all! I’m just happy if I can get some hot milk in the morning and, if lucky, a few tablespoons of Nonna’s precious black coffee is added when we manage to find some.

Finally, as the days start to get longer, our moods start to lighten. The spring days hold warm promises of summer. Then we hear news that in the town of Sicilia, at the bottom of the boot of Italy, American soldiers are landing daily and chasing away the Germans. Everyone is saying that the war is over. Our daily prayers become even more impassioned, as we wish with all our hearts that this is truly a sign that the end of the war is near.

‘Is it true, Mamma?’ I ask when she gets home from work that night. ‘They have been talking about it out in the street. Graziella said her mamma told her so. Is the war really over?’

‘It seems that is what they are saying, cara.’

‘So where are these Americani then?’ Nonna’s voice is like a dose of cold water. ‘Those German soldiers are still strutting around out there, filled with their own self-importance! I certainly am not going to tell them the war is over.’

‘Aah, Mamma, don’t be so cynical.’ Looking at me, Mamma smiles. ‘Don’t listen to Nonna. In her heart of hearts, she is also hopeful, but she doesn’t want to get disappointed.’ Some sort of hrrumff is emitted from Nonna but Mamma continues. ‘We just need to have patience, Mariolina. They are coming. Graziella’s mamma is quite right.’ Mamma pats me on the cheek for good measure.



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