Yoga Suits Her
Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar
The creek don’t rise
The problem is the creek did rise. We live next to Scotts Creek, Mitchells Island, NSW, and the creek rose and rose and rose. Then it burst its bank.
Up in our house, safe on a hill, we watched as Farmer John’s next-door paddocks became inundated. John had seen the flood coming and moved his cattle to safety. That day, it rained and rained, everyone calling it biblical. At 4 am, the caravan park at Manning Point was hit by a flash flood. The proprietor shook the van occupants out their slumber and some, still in p.j.’s, made a run for high ground.
Adam at the General Store couldn’t get to his home, just 5 minutes down the road, so decided to keep his business open. He served evacuees until his stocks ran low.
The next day The Islands Community FB group put an APB regarding the 30 cows and 10 calves on Fig Tree Farm that were in strife. A couple of stalwart neighbours waded into the billabong where the cattle were stranded, then spent several hours herding them to safety.
Manning Point became isolated and declared an evacuation centre. I heard helicopters flying over on their way to drop off supplies at the Bowling Club. A neighbour who’d been going house to house knocked on our door, asking if any of us needed medications. Then, she relayed information to be added to the island’s next helicopter deliveries.
Sadly, one elderly resident from Manning Point became ill. A medivac helicopter soon came to pick her up and transport her to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle. I found out later that she didn’t live. Neighbours spread the word that her husband who was still at Manning Point would be needing tender support.
The bowling club served daily BBQ breakfasts. And at the eleventh hour, seemingly appearing like a genie out of a bottle, the volunteer Sikhs’ food truck arrived. Rumour had it that they’d driven up from Victoria with their delicious vegetarian curries–‘food for the soul’. When they left Mitchells Island, they drove to Oxley Island to feed the farmers there, some of whom had lost everything.
What does it mean?
Wiki tells me that ‘the creek don’t rise’ is an American slang expression that implies that our best intentions can be thwarted by uncommon events. Similar to what we’ve experienced in the Manning Valley, this supposedly once-in-a-century flood.
This expression evokes unpredictably extreme rainfall that renders rural neighbourhoods temporarily inaccessible.
We on Mitchells Island are just a microcosm of a terrible devastation that has cut a deep swathe across NSW. Walking through our nearest town today, I saw the proprietor of a beauty salon sitting on Albert Street in a chair that she’d pulled out of her flooded premises. She was holding her head in her hands and crying. That seemed a response that was congruent with what she was facing.
We in Australia on the eastern seaboard were terribly hurt by the fires of 2019. Terribly hurt. Is it at all possible to recover from such profound losses of property, homes, livestock, businesses?
I don’t know. Perhaps. Maybe what will save us is a compassionate caring that is proportional to this disaster. Maybe our definition of family needs to become more extensive and our hearts more expanded.
In my walk around Taree today, I nodded to people and said good morning and got genuine friendly responses from ‘strangers’ in return. The devastation we’ve experienced shows just how vulnerable we humans are and how very much we need each other.
Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga. Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.
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The Previous 3 Posts
This is the arc of life, with a peak somewhere in there, but for the most part, we miss it.
When you look in the mirror today, you might say to yourself, ‘Gawd, you are looking beautiful today.’ You might as well admire this presentation because next week you will look slightly altered. As I did yesterday when I noticed my hair had ‘suddenly’ become much greyer than I remembered. If you can, avoid the expression ‘for my age’. That negates the little bit of self-love you created upon complimenting yourself.
I’m forever grateful that my dear girlfriend, Mary Lou, came up with the idea of us doing yoga. She thought we could lose some weight and learn to relax by participating in a 10-week course at the local YMCA.
I was a no-nothing regarding yoga, but I trusted my friend. If I had been able to google the word ‘yoga’ in 1971, I would have found references to the Beatles and Mahreesh Mahesh Yogi, Ram Dass and psychedelic drugs, and television shows with women in Lycra leotards and stiffly sprayed hair.
Mary Lou and I arrived at the YMCA class and took up our cross-leg seated positions on gym mats. I sneaked a peek at the fifteen or so other students–not a man in sight. That part of yoga has not changed much.
Leading the class was a slim, lively yet calm woman in her mid-sixties. Dorothy Tomarelli told us by way of introduction that her husband had died a few years previously. As a result of her grief, Dorothy went into a rapid emotional and physical decline. Her muscles atrophied and she lost strength. Her doctor, seeing her depressed state, advised her to take up yoga. Dorothy decided that she had nothing to lose and searched for a class. It turned out to be so much of a lifesaver that she decided to teach yoga.
This is often the way a seed is planted for future yoga teachers. We are inspired by someone. As I listened to Dorothy, something stirred in me. I saw a glimmer of hope in Dorothy’s story–the possibility that health, happiness and even longevity could be mine.
January is ‘The Month of Good Intentions. It’s the time to get back on track if you’ve taken a detour off the straight-and-narrow. January first is a blank canvas, a fresh sheet of print paper, a blank slate.
I know, I know. Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely. I’ve been no exception. Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.
No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing. I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet. But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want. Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.