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river rising

19/01/2011

Hello Sunday Polaroid of Brisbane River Floods

We watched on the television as though it were happening thousands of kilometres from us, perhaps overseas somewhere and not a ten-minute drive down the road. The winding body of water was rushing forth, swelling, bloating like a belly, so wide that its arms were forced to the sides, out over the banks where it emptied its mammoth handfuls of slosh and mud into the city and the streets of so many humble homes. We clamoured around the computer screen as images flooded the net, scenes that we could not touch or taste or smell, but knew were so very close. We were in shock. How could our usually-placid, if not a little boring, brown river perform with such vehemence? Days later when the voices on the radio gave us the all clear we marched out early to join those who had in fact touched and tasted and smelled those scenes we had witnessed. There was nothing we could do to understand, but we smiled benignly and they greeted us tiredly but warmly, their spirit more impressive than the surging river. We held hands then, all of us in a crooked line, and stepped towards the wreckages, ready to cart it away.

Find out more about this Hello Sunday memoir.

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