Tag Archives: storm

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.