JANUARY 23 2012 : You follow a season like whales or birds Heavy in thought, weightless in dreams. Then you escape it. John B. Fairfax, AO.


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This could well be the first time I am coming to some sense of fitting into this season of Summer. The memories of hot, beach days and sleepless mosquito ridden nights are dim now and the days of rain and coolness and heavy laden skies have almost become my norm. I have followed these Summertimes. Trying to fit into them as I once did. Each day I drive about with a bag of swimming clothes on the front seat as if the Season will resume its usual form. Most days it doesn’t.

I have followed this season in other places. I expected to find them different. I expected to take a while to adjust to the subtleties and dramas of new places.  But when I came home to my Valley, I thought I would follow the Summertime which I knew well. I thought my skin would go brown in the sun and my hair would be tangled with saltwater. I have followed this particular Season in this Particular place over many years. Followed it into deep freshwater swimming holes in the curved valley of the Promised Land and across the sands of the Sea Lido.

I have seen the afternoon storms come up from the South and curl in black clouds round the mountain ranges. Heard the wild winds whistle down the linear valleys with lightning sparking and trees falling and roads closing.  I have followed the seasons of fire here and of corn growing high.

I have been trapped in the old Following of the Old Seasons. 3 Summertimes I have been back. 3 Summertimes “ heavy in thought’ trying to follow an old leading of the Sun. Heavy in thoughts of sand and salt. Dreaming of the barefooted days and a single fishing line. Dreaming weightless of boats on the river and Seasons now passed by me.

Just this morning, I have escaped it. Just this morning with rain and grey skies and cold winds and a flood watch I have come right on through the Following to this side. The Other Side.

Give me a moment to think. This is about more than a Bellingen Summertime.

A few years back, I had a mass of lovers, old lovers, all making contact with me. Then I realised that each of them had had their place and time in my life. Important. Integral but not needed in the flesh in  the present. They were all done. Fitted in and done.

Now, the Summers are like that. I don’t need to grasp for the Old Summertimes with all the happiness they brought me. Its done. Integrated. Part of me. Now I live in the Wetlands. Now, the Wetland Birds are about and the big black cockatoos are flying about and nesting in the trees out the back. The nights are cool and comfortable and days are peaceful and silent.

And as for me, my own Summers are done and its time to follow something else. Some other season. Some other way of moving.

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Issued at 1:00 pm EDT on Sunday 22 January 2012

Note: This Flood Watch is a “heads up” for possible future flooding and is NOT a Flood Warning [see note below].

A broad low pressure trough lies over inland parts of New South Wales while another trough lies over the northern Tasman Sea. The offshore trough is expected to move closer to the coast and deepen on Monday. This will combine with an upper disturbance and strengthening onshore airstream triggering possible local heavy rainfall for parts of the mid-north coast on Monday. Spring (king) tides are current and are expected to increase the risk of flooding in low lying areas near the coast.

At this stage there is a greater than 70% chance of minor to moderate flooding as well as local flash flooding along the following river valleys from Monday onwards:

1. Bellinger River Valley

2. Macleay River Valley

3. Hastings River Valley

This Flood Watch means that people living or working along rivers and streams must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop. Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service. Across NSW, about 75% of Flood Watches are followed by flooding.