One of the things I love about living in Brisbane is the preponderance of exotic blooms that are to be found on every street and their magical scent that almost makes the oppressive heat of summer bearable.
My most favourite of these blooms is the delicately scented and aesthetically beautiful frangipani. I cannot walk past a scattering of them on the footpath without picking them up and inhaling their intoxicating scent.
I am lucky to have one at the entrance to the property in which I am currently living and love being surprised by its wonderful fragrance every time I go out the gate.
Beautiful Frangpani Blossoms
Yesterday morning I was opening the front door to let in some much needed air when I spotted a single frangipani blossom out on the little deck. I immediately went out and picked it up and wondered as to how it had gotten there as the frangipani tree is at the bottom of a set of stairs and there had been no wind sufficient enough to blow it up. I picked it up and inhaled it’s mesmerising aroma. I looked at it, beguiled by its simple beauty and asked it, “how did you get here?”
No sooner had I asked the question when a voice sounded in my head and it said, “wonder not about how we get to the places where we want to go, just trust that we get there in the end.”
Well you could have blown me down with a frangipani blossom! Never was a message so apt and so badly needed.
Trust is not something that comes naturally for me but maybe that little flower was telling me to inhale, breathe and for once in my life trust that there are greater forces at work in my life that will lead me to the places I want to be. Just for once maybe I don’t have to steer my ship through unknown waters, perhaps it’s time for me to let go of the wheel for a while and let another shipmate take control. As life throws me yet another curveball, maybe just this once I will trust and let go.
There are times in life when everything comes together in one perfect moment. These moments are rare and sometimes we can be so distracted, we only realise they happened after they have passed. To be aware of one of these moments whilst it is happening and to have a camera on you at the same time, to capture the magic and preserve it for all eternity is an incredible stroke of luck. Thankfully I had one of these such incidences of luck last year when on holidays in Ireland and took the photo below.
A Perfect Moment
The photo is of my daughter as she runs along the beach, the water splashing at her heels and the sun warming her bones. Now, the west of Ireland is a beautiful place to be on any day of the week but on a day when the sun shines it is sensational. We were blessed with weeks of uninterrupted sunshine, long lazy days of summer with ice cream afternoons, beach days and breath-taking sunsets. To get a summer like this in Ireland is too rare for words, to get a summer like this the only time you have been home for two years is incredibly special.
This photo was taken at about 4:30 pm in the afternoon on a day when the heat from the sun enveloped us like an invisible blanket that never seemed to end. The kids were pottering around the beach, building sandcastles, making stone sculptures and just being. I was relaxed in a way I can only be when I am in the west of Ireland – at one with body and soul.
My daughter decided to go in for a dip and I watched and listened as she lit up the beach with her smile and squeals of delight. As the cold water connected with her little body, she ran unfettered and free, a perfect study of joy in flight and I knew….. I knew I was witnessing one of those childhood moments that precious memories are made from. I reached for my phone, activated the camera and clicked and clicked.
A year later I’m sitting at my desk in Australia, yearning for an Irish summer in the west of Ireland and not knowing when I’ll be there again but I have a precious memory, a moment of pure joy captured on canvas, hanging on my wall. For the minute that will have to do but I feel so lucky to have grabbed that moment and preserved it. Looking at the photo brings me back to that day and an indescribable moment of happiness shared by me and my girl.
I saw this beautiful video on facebook the other day and it reminded me of one of the most amazing days in my life.
It was approximately seven years ago and it was the day my little girl met her baby brother for the first time. Ah that’s sweet, I hear you say but does it really fall into the amazing category? Well, yes it does when you consider her baby brother had fought for his life since being born at twenty-nine weeks and wasn’t due to be born for another six weeks. But as amazing as that fact was, it wasn’t the most amazing thing about the day.
I’m not sure how much you know about babies, I didn’t know a whole lot until I finally managed to have one but they don’t properly smile until they are between six and ten weeks old. Apparently their facial muscles aren’t developed enough to pull off a full-on beam. They may entertain you with plenty of adorable expressions and attempts at a smile but the main event doesn’t usually come until at least six weeks of age.
So here’s the amazing thing, on setting his eyes on his big sister and hearing her squeal of delight, the baby affectionately known as Scrappy, broke out into one of the biggest smiles you have ever seen. Yup, he pulled off a mega-watt beam of joy that reduced us all (including the battle-hardened NICU nurses) to tears. The only exception was his sister, who was captivated with him from the second she set her eyes on him and proceeded to smile back.
Sister & Brother Finally Meet
Very often we only recognise defining moments in our lives as we look back and view events with the benefit of hindsight, however, I knew immediately this was a defining moment in my life. I knew if my son (who wasn’t even supposed to be born yet) could pull off a smile like that for his sister, someone who he innately knew, then he would be okay. He would make it.
All too often these days we are bombarded with science and it seems someone, somewhere has all the answers but if my son’s incredible smile taught me one thing, it’s that we don’t have all the answers and sometimes things happen that just can’t be explained. At a time when so many seek to break the most incredible events in life, such as falling in love, into their component parts e.g. hormones, pheromones etc I think it’s wonderful that life keeps us on our toes and her mysteries up her sleeve.
So, the next time you smile, think of Scrappy and feel the magic of life.
It’s one thing to commit to a blog. It’s another thing entirely to find the time to actually write it! When I committed to this blog a number of months ago I had a long hard think about whether or not it was a good idea to even start it if I was never going to have the time to attend to it. I looked at all the commitments I have, sized up where I could adjust my schedule, allowed for contingencies and decided I could manage it. My aim each week is to have a post up by the weekend and failing that at least by Sunday morning at the very latest. So far I’ve been doing ok…… until last week and the week before that……. And here is the problem – when it came to allowing for contingencies I couldn’t have imagined a total crash of my computer system or, just the week after that catastrophic event, the arrival of a super-storm! I had been thinking along the lines of sick kids, school holidays and unexpected visitors. Obviously I need to up my contingencies game. So, note to self – when it comes to planning contingencies in the future perhaps I should plan for bigger contingencies than most. Mind you, contingencies don’t come much bigger than the super-storm that hit Brisbane last Thursday!
Two storm cells came together and formed The Beast – A Supercell Thunderstorm that unleashed hell on Brisbane in just over an hour. One minute I was out the back of the house in blazing sunshine and sweating my tooshie off and the next I was looking out my front door, with my jaw on the floor. “Oh dear,” I whispered as I stared at the sky with cold blasts of air rushing over me, “what’s this?”
Within seconds, a strange cracking sound started, then a blast of thunder exploded over the house. The sky was totally dark by now and it was as if night had descended upon us but not for long as sheets of lightning lit up the landscape. And then they came – golf ball sized hail stones catapulted out of the sky and pummelled everything around them. The noise was deafening.
One of The Lumps of Ice That Hit Brisbane During the Super-Storm
Now, it should be said I’m from an island on the west coast of Ireland and am no stranger to the fury of mother nature. Storms on Achill are brutal and fierce and I’ve experienced some of the worst. However, in all my days, I have never seen hail stones the size of golf balls! And we were lucky, as the storm intensified, hail the size of tennis balls fell in other parts of the city and how it fell!
It rained down mercilessly, like God was emptying his Eski (local slang for cooler box.) Nothing was safe and the damage has been extensive.
Hail Damaged Car
Cars in particular were badly damaged.
A Lot of Cars In Brisbane Look Like This At The Moment
Many houses had their windows smashed and the office blocks of the CBD (Central Business District) also suffered.
Beat Up Ofice Building In Brisbane CBD
Many people took shelter in the CBD only to find themselves being showered by hailstones and glass!
At about 5pm this is how Brisbane CBD looked.
Now if that’s not apocalyptic looking, then I don’t know what is!
As the hail abated the wind intensified and ripped through the city tearing up trees and taking roofs with it as it went.
Bye Bye Roof
Bye Bye UTE
Back in our part of town the hail had thankfully turned to rain and it was sheeting down. Things were starting to look a little more like a “normal” storm. Of course, power outtages and internet blackouts followed and so yours truly had to abandon all plans for posting on a Friday – again!
However, having seen all the post-storm damage I’m incredibly grateful that we came out of it totally unscathed and that nobody was killed. I may have had to postpone a post till today but it’s not every day you get to write about having been in a superstorm. Ah life in sub-tropical Australia – everything is bigger here – especially life’s little contingencies.