28 May 2023

Remember when it used to rain ... more than just water over the bridge

| Sally Hopman
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Flooded paddock

When it floods, it floods – and you can’t tell where the paddock has gone. Photo: Sally Hopman.

There was a time when I thought about – but declined to say out loud for fear of upsetting, well, Her Upstairs – that it would be nice if it stopped raining.

They were words I never thought I’d utter since deciding petrichor was my new favourite word, but, well, you remember those days, when any movement was nothing less than a squelch. When the grass grew higher than a small child and when potholes enjoyed a splashy renaissance.

Damn it, those rivers ran high, especially the one near the farm where I live. Paddock one day, rapidly running water, uphill, the next. I remember the noise of the flow woke me up, thundering up the hill like I didn’t know water could, only stopping a few metres from the house yard.

It was almost like someone had said to it, “There’s nothing for you here”, despite the fact a priceless collection of snowdomes living within could have really been shaken up by such an ordeal. Clearly, someone up there had taste and didn’t allow the water to infiltrate.

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Being stranded on the property wasn’t so bad. There was enough milk for tea, chocolate to eat with it, and dog food. The spiders drowned inside my gum boots, the caked-on dust/gravel/dried animal bits plopped off the outside of them like rock cakes. Even the Driza-Bone got as wet-az.

But then something weird happened. Having lived through a number of droughts, I started to wonder when nature would pull her pin on the flooding rains. After the rain gauge showed 80 mm in a 12-hour period, even I stopped recording the falls – so says the woman who daggily has been recording rainfall in a tatty little book since, well, they made tatty little rainfall-recording books.

It’s been a dry argument for a while now. No real rain since the big dump earlier this year. The paddocks crunch again when you walk over them, the river has taken itself down again – only the potholes have any staying power.

Flooded paddock rises towards farm gate

The gate wasn’t going to open for this flooded river, but it came dam close. Photo: Sally Hopman.

So I reckon it’s time for it to rain again. Nice, steady stuff that goes directly into the water tank rather than whacking it sideways.

I want to start worrying again about getting the washing off the line in time. See the ants march across the kitchen sink as if they own it. Watch the cows lie down under the trees and look as if they’ll never rise again – even for a vegetarian platter. See the black cockies come screeching back overhead, and watch the clouds return.

Loved those clouds. You remember them, don’t you? The lumpy ones with the fancy scientific name that I can neither spell nor pronounce, but meant rain was a-gonna fall. A hard rain, just like Bob Dylan droned on about.

The sort of rain that drowns out every other noise on your tin roof. That lets you know your roof is not completely sealed. That you planted trees too close to the house. That you should have installed a larger water tank.

Yep, it’s time for it to rain again. You listening Hughie? Send her down, please.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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