It has been raining steadily for days. The sodden earth is unable to absorb any more water and the ground is boggy underfoot. Paddocks have turned into lakes and livestock are moving to higher ground. Canola fields blaze yellow; the wheat has shot up. It looks like a bountiful season. Yet, I wonder if all this abundance could turn into a mirage should farmers be unable to harvest their crops.
Whole towns have been inundated with water this year. Months later, people are still without homes, some living in tents. There’s a housing crisis in these communities and still the rain keeps coming. Mould has stealthily invaded houses and everything feels damp to touch. Roads have become impassable. There is a feeling of despondency.
Yesterday, as I was driving through a cloudburst with my windscreen wipers working overtime, I saw flashes of a rainbow through the momentary clear screen, only to be blurred a second later. But it was enough. I kept my eye on that rainbow, remembering the covenant made between Noah and God, that never again will the whole world be flooded.
Then I see photos of droughts in England and America with lakes that have turned to dustbowls, and I am thankful for the life-giving water we have in plenitude. I remember too the last long drought we had in Australia from 2001 to 2009. Children were born and raised on farms where they had never seen rain in all their lives. Water had to be trucked into towns and plenty of farmers walked off the land. There were suicides too. At the time, it felt as if we would never see rain again.
Due to climate change, our weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable. We can’t count on seasons doing what they have always done. It will take a gargantuan effort for mother earth to keep providing for us. We all have our part to play in how things will turn out for humanity. Not one of us is free of blame for the state of the world.
I accept the challenge to change what I can: be less wasteful, want less and recycle more of our precious resources. I cannot give in to despair. Hope still springs eternal. And as I watch the rain, I think about the story of that ancient covenant and look for the rainbow ahead.