When I arrived home after a long trip I found a text from my son inviting me to lunch. I try not to refuse any request to join my children for a meal. It seems to be the only quality time we get together. Tired and unwell as I felt, I went off to meet him.
Over a beautiful Thai meal my son discloses how stressed he is feeling. He is a manager of a retail shop and is busy with pre stocktaking KPIs as well as trying to manage his university commitments. He has just moved houses and trying to pay the bills associated with that. He’s due to go on a conference too which will limit his earning capacity for a few days. It all seems too much for him. We talked through this pressure time. It’s the eye of the storm, I tell him. This, too, will pass. A burden is only a burden is it is carried alone. We talked about who could step in to help him with of the practical issues he was confronted with. Problem solving made easy. He hugged me after lunch and told me he felt better after catching up with me. The hug was a reassurance, for me, and him.
I told my son about the storm cell I went through last week. The weather report stated a thunderstorm in the Wheatbelt. As with weather reports, one dismisses it as a bit of rain, noise and drama especially as I left Perth with blue skies and the warmth that comes from 27 degree celsius.
Just after Cunderdin I noticed a band of black in the far distance. Too far away to be worried by it but delighted in the rainbows that flicked through dappled light. Then, without warning, it hit. At 4 pm it was darker than midnight. The noise was deafening. The rain was a waterfall. Thunder made my teeth rattle. Lightening danced and bounced across the paddocks in long golden streams. I noticed 4WDs pulled off the road. Unable to see, even with high beams, I dared not follow them. I feared getting bogged in a ditch. The only object that gave any comfort was a huge road train ahead of me. Large and as lit up as an office building at night, it kept a steady 50 km/hour. Puddles were turning into huge pools. This land is clay and floods easily. I stayed as closely as I safely could to the road train and drove on dry land in it’s wake. My heart pounded with anxiety but my hands and eyes were steady. “Keep your eye on the road train” was my mantra. Eighty five kilometres later, there it was, a patch of blue. I stopped for a moment to take a picture. Within seconds, the landscape turned from dark and angry to the mellow colours of farming sunset. Yes, the crisis, passed.
Although the storm did not hit Merredin, not even a drop of rain, the birds seemed to be affected by it. There were no small honeyeaters. Next morning the black cockatoos with their splendid red tail feathers were loud. When they left a solitary red western wattlebird appeared. The sky was blue as I left it in Perth. All was normal again.
Plan A was to get to Merredin safely. Plan B got me there.
I firmly believe in teaching my children the value of Plan B. I believe it is more important than Plan A. It is in Plan B where resilience is nurtured, where it takes shape. Plan B can be a saviour.
Until next time
a dawn bird
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