Floods & The Things You Do for Love
This Spring has been absolutely amazing so far. We’ve had 3 floods – 2 of which came up under our house and we thought for a while the house might go under but it didn’t. Our normally dry creek became a raging river that spanned as much as 700 m in areas. The floods were terrifying and at the same time exhilarating ! It was wonderful to see all that water, when only a month before we had to buy water in to fill our tanks. Some of you will recall from my videos, that the floods were a major threat to the small things on our property and I spent a great deal of time rescuing them. The floods totally destroyed the fences at the rear of our property (about 1.5 km of fence) and some of the fence in other areas. It also drowned rabbits (which was good because they are an introduced pest), drowned lots of meat ants near the house (which was kind of good as we had unsuccessfully tried to exterminate many of them because they were getting into the house and gardens and making life hell for other ants), drowned lizards (which was bad) and probably drowned some kangaroos, wallabies and Echidnas (which was also bad). At least one Echidna survived and over the next few weeks he cleaned out several of the meat ant nests across the property and probably consumed a hundred thousand plus ants ! He must be one fat Echidna ! The land here transformed from barren, parched land, to land that was inundated with water. As a result we now have hundreds of frogs out talking day and night (after spending years under ground), loads of frog spawn and tadpoles, millions of mosquitoes and midges (who are making life hell for humans and animals), water in billabongs that haven’t been filled for years and millions of tiny aquatic invertebrates (copepods, midge larvae, dragon fly nymps, flat works, brine shrimp etc.). As result of the floods, an entire aquatic ecosystem has come to life, that has otherwise laid dormant for the last 5 years. And it’s been thoroughly enjoyable to watch it blossom ! As a result of the rain and the newly emerged aquatic ecosystem, there are flow on effects that have transformed the entire property. There is grass everywhere and some of it is 7-8 feet tall (which is making mowing within 100 m of the house a nightmare !); there are thousands of insects (some of which species we haven’t seen in years); there are migratory birds coming and going; there is a new growth taking place in all the trees; the birds are going mad bonking and breeding (most are at it again for the second time this Spring); and our vegetable garden is better than it’s ever been (with some plants 7 feet tall) ! But it isn’t all wonderful. As time goes by there are certain changes that are occurring that are less desirable. The mosquitoes are making it impossible to enjoy what would normally be the best time of the year to be outside gardening, bird watching, exercising and reading a book in the sun. The mosquitoes and midges are likely to cause several diseases in kangaroos and as a result there numbers maybe halved over the next few months. And of course the water is drying out, which may mean we have to begin buying in water by the start of summer. Worse still, is that this amazing aquatic ecosystem is starting to dry out. Which means that in a couple of months all the invertebrates who live in the water will disappear and along with them, any tadpoles who haven’t transformed. In time however here will be other changes which are good, including an eruption of Eucalyptus saplings, as a result of all the seed that will have been dispersed in the silt. This will of course accelerate my efforts to revegetate the property and enhance it’s biodiversity.
Like all phenomenon, the flood and it’s short term effects are brief. But it is a critically important event in the life of the flood plain and a normal event that used to happen here on a regular basis. Like all phenomenon, there are both negative and positive aspects. And while I like the positive aspects, the negative aspects also have their place. Without millions of mosquitoes and midges (and larvae – little red worm like critters), tadpoles have less to eat and so they are fewer in number. So when I go out at night and I hear the cacophony of frog song that fills the air, I remind myself that those annoying, buzzing, biting little bastards, make all this possible. Which means that I just have to bite the bullet and accept that this is how it is. I had planned on putting fish into the billabongs to keep the mozzie numbers down but I changed my mind, realizing that it was a necessary evil !
We’ve had so much water that we had brine shrimp and copepods grow in puddles in our driveway (which I carefully drove around !) and tadpoles grow in long puddles by the side of the road.
After the first flood, things started to dry out very quickly and so there were thousands of tadpoles with no place to go, except through the pearly gates with old St Peter ! So me being me, I went and rescued them and filled the 3 ponds around the house with tadpoles. Now the same thing is happening, only this time the air is swarming with mozzies. Yesterday I rescued more than a hundred tadpoles (of an endangered species) from a thin puddle on the side of the road next to our property. In the process I received more than 80 mosquito bites. The mozzies have been carrying Ross River Fever, Barmah Forest Virus and the so called Zombie Virus but I’m optimistic that I’ll stay free of nasties or at least develop an immunity to them. I’m not a sucker for punishment, I just can’t stand to sit by and watch things suffer and/or die needlessly, when I can do something to help them. Yes it is playing God (a term my ex always threw at me !) and it is taking away from the natural bounty that would feed birds like crows and insects like ants. But I figure it also helps every single individual and the species. This year for example, I have saved some where in the order of about 5,000 tadpoles. Now if just 10 % survive, that’s 500 frogs that didn’t exist before and if 90 % survive (and there’s no reason why the numbers can’t be that high given the lack of predators), that’s 4,500 frogs that have a chance to go out and make a life for themselves. As a result, other things will benefit and there will be thousands more frogs from future generations !
So, is it worth the hundreds of mozzie bites I’ve had so far from rescuing tadpoles ? I think so, even if I did contract a mosquito born virus or other mosquito related illness !
So, as each billabong on the property approaches the end of it’s aquatic life, I’ll rescue as many invertebrates and tadpoles as I can, relocating them into the 3 ponds around the house and the new one I built in the vegy garden. So that I can extend the life of the aquatic ecosystem just a little longer and give each individual creature a slightly longer life than it would have had and a chance to breed and make more of it’s own kind. There will be plenty that I don’t rescue that are left over for the scavengers to eat.
So why you might wonder why I’m telling you any of this. Not to blow my own horn ! But because the stories of all phenomenon are worth telling. This is a story about life and death, about impermanence, about natures cycles, about noticing beauty and suffering, about finding meaning in helping another living thing, about love and interconnection. But mostly it’s a story about love. I love the natural world and feel totally inseparable from it. And I would say the same thing to you, no matter what you feel. You are Earth. Earth is in you and you are in it. Earth is composed of you and every other living thing that resides with us. And we can all play a role in helping to alleviate suffering, in encouraging life and in keeping it going. Through the choices we make and in our behaviours and reactions towards the natural world. Especially those of you, who like me, live in the country side. You can all do something to help the natural world to flourish. And lets be honest about one thing. Self interest is always at the heart of helping other living things. Because when we help something else to suffer less and to live, when it would otherwise have perished, we help ourselves to feel connected and to feel that we are part of the whole. And connection is the root of all great feeling and what makes life worth living. People talk about oneness and yet they exclude so much. Yet the act of inclusion takes so little effort – whether it’s people we dislike or noticing the needs of the natural world. If only we remember the power of love and our capacity to create good, then anything is possible.
I want to reach the end of my life, knowing that I have tried my best to alleviate suffering and to bring light into the world !
Outside of this blog, no one but the people who know me intimately, know anything about my rescue efforts and the thousands of new frogs who will arrive on Earth soon. But each tadpole knows that some strange being picked it up out of the mud and gave it a new life in a world that offered infinite possibilities. And that my friends, is all that really matters.
Posted on October 27, 2016, in Love, Nature, Oneness, Uncategorized and tagged animal rescue, Flood, Floods, frogs, interconnection, love, nature, oneness, tadpoles. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.