The wind that blew Dorothy's house away to the land of Oz was nothing compared to last night at my place. I felt like I was on a ship caught in a storm at sea..... buffeted this way and that, the wind howling through the gum trees down by the road before crashing into my bedroom like a series of giant waves.... the rain and hail hitting the windows, hammering the tin roof and no doubt filling my already gushing creek.
By 4.30am I gave up on sleep. By 5am I was sitting up in bed with the hood of my thickest jacket covering my head and a hot coffee in my hands. Sunrise is not until after 7.30am so I could not see outside, except that it was very black when I nipped out to the verandah for a couple of pieces of wood for the fire.
I managed to get back to sleep for an hour or so, much later, and decided at 9am that I was not going to the community garden today at 10am. I was sure no-one else would be there anyway so I threw some more wood on the fire and settled down to writing some emails and reading some blogs. At 10.30 I was still in my pj's, luxuriating in the unexpected free time, when the phone rang. I could hardly hear for the noise of the rain on my roof.....
"Hi Kate, its Jane. I have brought a load of mulch in my ute and wondered if you are coming to the community garden today to help me unload it...."
"Not sure if you have noticed Jane but its a bugger of a day for gardening and....."
"Yes but it'll only take 1/2 an hour and I have the wheelbarrows out ready...."
The community garden is only at the end of my street ..... surely Jane had gone mad....it was about 4 degrees and pouring....but her enthusiasm is infectious and rarely have I come across someone even more passionate about it all than me .... so.....
"OK Jane. I will be there in a few minutes."
Seventeen layers of clothes later, I left home. By now two others had turned up at the garden. They must be mad too, I decided.
The 4 of us did not even mention the weather as we slogged away. I mean, there was no point at all; it was cold and wet and bloody obvious! It didn't take long to unload the stuff and then wimpish me suggested everyone might like to come and sit by my fire and have a coffee and congratulate ourselves but...... Jane and Laura said they'd just pop down to the IGA and pick up some more cardboard for another project we are working on and Alex said, sarcastically I thought, that she'd brought some native plants to plant and it was a GREAT day for planting them.
"Alex, its not a great day for anything but coffee by a fire" I suggested but already she was out of earshot and heading off with her home-grown tea trees and bottlebrushes.
We worked away and the sun came out for a moment before once again the rain beat down, but we got the job done, discovering an overgrown pile of mulch which we dug out and used, along with 5 large car tyres, completely hidden by weeds.... perfect.... the trees were now mulched and guarded from enthusiastic brush-cutters.
Three more community gardeners popped in.... two stayed for tea on the verandah. They are definitely mad as well.... There we were, stalwart gardeners in very wet pants, and 17 layers of woollens and coats sitting out on Liz's verandah in the cold Tasmanian winter drinking tea as if it were summer.
I congratulate these women and especially Jane, who rang a few of us up and got us out for a memorable morning's work.... my wet and muddy jeans hang in front of the fire, my old black ski hat hangs there too and my new gardening gloves have made a muddy puddle on the hearth tiles .... I am sitting here on the couch in my long johns which are nearly dry and, finally, I have coffee.
Life is good; sometimes unexpectedly so.