Nearly everywhere I travelled last week stories of the recent floods of 2011 and 2012 still abound. From Miles and Charleville to St George and Goondiwindi, everyone has a story, rising water, stranded livestock and pets, water sucking up living room walls, infrastructure and erosion and the greasy, smelly silt left behind in the waters wake. Today I passed through the town of Grantham in the Lockyer Valley north east of Toowoomba. I was enroute to the Gatton Library. Knowing the terrible toil that the flood wrecked on the area I travelled through it was a sobering feeling imagining the magnitude of water which carried both lives and property away. The town has rebounded of course. Curly salad greens pop their heads up from the rich soil and new / rebuilt houses dot the landscape yet there is almost a lingering feeling of displacement that goes beyond the tragic events experienced. Of course I immediately chastise my writer’s imagination however as one resident commented to me today, ‘lives changed here, forever and yes Grantham does feel different. It has too. While some residents want to wipe the slate clean and move on with their lives (I think) we need to remember. If we forget the past too quickly I worry we wont be prepared in the future’.
Tonight I’m in Ipswich and having recently launched Absolution Creek with family and friends at Goondiwindi’s Gourmet In Gundy weekend celebrations, I am reminded of how precious our family and friends are. I miss my home even though I enjoy being on tour and talking about my work, but wow what an honour it is to travel through regional and rural centres and be reminded of the resiliance of our communities and of the great web of life we are all a part of.