Tag Archives: storm

Meeting the moment 2021 #29

The power was off for nearly sixteen hours and the winds were raging, I was having a Dorothy moment, thinking I might end up in Kansas. It was one of those moments with the windows rattling, the banging of loose tin, something unknown and metallic hitting against a nearby fence and in the distance a crash of a branch. By mid afternoon men in hi-vis and big white trucks were wandering up and down the street and around the corner matching their knowledge to the ferocity of what had been the night before and its impact on 67 households (according to the app). These are the moments I remember to be grateful for power, hot water, wi-fi, heating … I take so much of this for granted in my first world comfort zone.  

A storm like this, only a few years back, had me driving my dying husband around in the car with his ventilator plugged in so it could recharge via the car’s auxiliary power outlet. We went up and down roads and through vineyards and over hills, until the power at home went back on.  We had dispensation to be a priority customer given his reliance on oxygen, but we didn’t get the supply immediately and also up until then didn’t have tanks on hand to compensate.  (We got them after that and never had to use them.)  I am grateful I don’t have to live through all those moments again.  Stormy conditions are not always equitable. Some of us have more resources than others, more jackets to put on, better quality umbrellas, back up powerpacks. I have come to consider the non-physical versions of these, resilience tools.

The breath is what distinguishes something as being alive or dead. The raging storm lets me know well I am alive, all creation is alive.

In the storm, the air finds its voice mixed with the staccato of hail, the rumble of thunder, the crescendo of waves of rain crashing like waves on the beach. Then the quiet arrives, not quite silence, as birds find ways to harmonise with the new post-storm atomic score. You take time to clean up debris, replace and restore what is out of place or is not in any shape to be able to be retained. The path of the storm has left a clearing where, there is now, more light.

I have been haunted by the past and some very tricky personalities presenting themselves this week. I felt darkness descending and shadows forming, not of my making and not at my invitation. In true Celt fashion, a triptych of deeptime sensory discomfort. The storm blew in to deliver lessons. The electricity lines being down seemed to draw a line, cut off supply and blew away the bad spirits. The elements have guided me and delivered the high, fierce and dangerous winds required to shift the predatory shadows circling me. 

The invitation to live in this space between and with the elements, is something I am learning more about, thanks to continuing to delve into my Celtic roots especially through the works of John O’Donohue and guidance of Norin Ni Riain. I am learning to take instruction from the elements, to live more in tune to the seasons, the turn of the sun, the tidal power of the moon and the dance steps of planets and stars. It is not lost on me, this relationship between wind and breath, and the feminine word for spirit (ruah) in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It feels quite pointed and poignant, as I meet the moment of this week, reflecting on the symphonic elemental natural world as my spiritual guide.

Photo by Anandu Vinod on Unsplash

Promises to tomorrow #14 Osmosis

Osmosis is the spontaneous net movement of solvent molecules through a semi-permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, in the direction that tends to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides.

While osmosis is sometimes thought of, and even defined, as gradual assimilation towards homogeneity, that is not my experience in everyday life. The spontaneity is a carrier of change – indeed being catalytic does not mean having to change to support the process of osmosis and bring equity, not just equality.  What would it take to be membrane? To be movement? To be molecules? To be  solution? To be spontaneity?

To be osmotic and maintain your own integrity and own natural properties is a way of being in the world. It is a call to draw in and to push out and stay true to your self in the process – quite an instruction from the week.


Starting with exploding white light

the darkness breaks in a spit

heaven and earth split.

Thor in full flight

thrusting through the skies while mere mortals

get soaked.

All species drenched,

some so heavy with the weight of it all taking a while to wring themselves out.

Positive and negative ions

randomly wild buzzy space travelling molecules

and then …

before too long …

with the precision of Riverdancers pounding the floor in quick step and high kicks punctuated occasionally with a whoop and holler,

find their feet in the pattern.

The charge finds ground. Earthed.

Osmosis begins.

(C) M. Deslandes April 2017

My promise to tomorrow is to follow the charge to ground and to notice the entire cycle of the force of nature.  My friend the elec-trickster of power contained within; ready to make landfall once the energy has been expended in the cosmos. Empowered to be osmotic with internal alignment and integrity at the service of solutions on all sides.


Before, During and After Storm June 2016


Dancing with Speeches #45 Lin-Manuel Miranda

Each year in June the Tony Award’s for Broadway are held. This year the winner of the best score for Hamilton was Lin-Manuel Miranda. The USA were reeling from the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida – a crime scene where gay and lesbian people were targeted. The composer decided to respond with a sonnet of love to his great love, his wife. Who are your great loves? How do they help you find a way? This week’s dancing with speeches might be a two-step – choose which one – Texan or Californian – yet another binary choice in this world of complexity.

This has been a week where divisions have become visible, no longer under the surface, bubbling away, but like a pot of liquid boiling, steaming, bursting the confines of the saucepan on the stove, spilling over.  Now the mopping up has to begin. The dreams and hopes of one generation, one colour, almost one gender, lost and in some kind of parallel universe their mirror image has their dreams and hopes found.

Disruption is the new normal. Playbooks have been torn up. Revolutionaries and radicals are on the rise. Fear is the currency being traded at every border designed to divide women and men, black and white, poor and rich, refugee and settled.  Dualism, binary options wriggle from complexities as we all struggle to be resilient in the face of perceived choices of globalism and neo-liberalism erode our confidence to face the future.  We look for certainty in uncertain places – the ripcord of a suicide bomber, the blackjack table, the ballot box.

When it all comes crashing we go to the poets, the artists and the songwriters to find the words and sounds and sights to guide and comfort our spirits, give meaning and hold us in the space.  Love holds the mop. Without love the mess will stay on the stove, the pot will get hotter, the divisions wider.

Here is my poem for this occasion.

Promise to Tomorrow

My grandson is the reason my vote is cast

His smile warms me with its glow

I nail his colours to my mast

And sail the ship: Promise to Tomorrow.

He fingers beads around my neck

And roars like a dinosaur.

We’re using his cards in our deck

Squandering each day more and more.

Gender, race and class

– the great dividing range.

Has left me wanting, waiting –

For sweet love to reign.

Go with a child in your heart

And horizon in your head

Only love decisions must be made – else

Our planet will be dead.


Snow Storm: Steam-Board off a Harbour’s Mouth              J.M.W Turner – 1842

Dancing with Speeches #40 Anna Bligh

In January 2011, Queensland had devastating and deadly floods. The Premier at the time Anna Bligh gave a rallying call to all Queenslanders that inspired and encouraged a nation. She appealed to the tenacious survivor spirit to rise above the waters. In my own state this week a natural disaster has been treated like a political football. Here is a speech Anna might have given if she was in South Australia this week.


Mother Nature rules, and at times like this we are reminded her place in the scheme of things. While we might tame her and guide her to use her energy to keep us warm, safe, fed and housed – there are going to be times when that is not going to happen. This is one of those times. There have been more than 80,000 lightning strikes this afternoon and evening. Electricity towers designed to withstand all weather conditions we normally face here in South Australia could not withstand the cyclonic forces and while over 90% stood tall those that fell over tripped the national grid. This safety measure ensured we could all get power restored as quickly as humanly possible – and there’s the rub – even the super human efforts of our super hero emergency service workers facing the elements of wind, rain and hail, will not get everyone back up with power within a few hours. I am so proud of the efforts and goodwill of South Australians. Despite traffic lights being out all across our capital city not one single accident was reported. This is an astonishing testament to the social cohesion in our community – in times of trouble we respect each other and give way so we all get home safely.

While the grid and connectors are being restored, I am calling on my political allies and colleagues from all persuasions to step up and join me in congratulating our ability as a State to rise to this challenge and keep the lights on.  Let us suspend judgement on why this happened and get the facts first, to look at them in the clear light of day, with a clear head, before we go jumping to conclusions, pointing fingers and worst of all blaming our commitment to renewable energy and being brave enough to work with the power freely given to us by Mother Nature, and while we are all still learning how to manage a national system.

No one was killed on the roads, no one has died from flooding, no one has been killed from a tree falling on them, back up generators kicked in, friends and families gathered around old school transistors to keep up with news and there was plenty of evidence of conversations and board games being re-discovered by candle light all around the State.

Evacuation centres are now in full swing in those parts of the state where flood waters are rising. As always volunteers are at the ready helping in all sorts of ways – filling sand bags, feeding and supporting emergency service teams, making and receiving calls on hotlines to ensure people are safe and feel supported – this is the spirit of South Australia.

We are famous for being the driest State on the driest continent and so when we are faced with these climatic conditions our systems are stretched beyond their limits. We are in unfamiliar territory. We are unaccustomed to seeing torrents, burst banks and overflowing gutters. Our international friends will be shocked to see this as anything strange – but for us it is. The national grid locking us out of power at a time when we might have most needed it – is not a disaster – it was a safety measure built in the system and we were up for the challenge. The danger of being out in the weather was heeded and I thank you all for being sensible and staying away from rising waters, crossing flooded streams and being off the roads as much as possible.

Finally I want to say one thing to my political colleagues who have been swift to blame South Australia’s race towards renewables as being in the mix for the power going off. Friends, we will not go backwards. South Australia’s colonial beginnings were experimental, we have always incubated new ways and been prepared to innovate and take steps forward to address and indeed herald the future. This storm tripping the system is Mother Nature’s nudge to get us to all work together to ensure we have secure energy for all Australians – not just those who are using old world power sources or live on the east coast. We are leaders in renewables and will be bringing all of the rest of the country with us. In the not too distant future, we will be thankful this happened first to a State with the capacity and tenacity to fix a problem quickly and move past the pain to solutions so we can all have a future where the best engineering, technologies and systems will deliver energy that powers a nation more dependent on the elements.

Thank you once again to the crews all across the State who are working in this recovery period to restore what has been lost and keeping us safe.