Amazingly Ominous

Can you see the imminent, but inconspicuous danger in the tranquillity?
Can you see the imminent, but inconspicuous danger in the tranquillity?

IT’S BEEN PRETTY treacherous – and deadly – in Sydney and the surrounding areas over the past week. Flash floods and wind speeds equivalent to a category 2 typhoon/hurricane/cyclone are not what Sydney is used to. But nature has a funny way of making impending disaster look so beautiful.

Take this shot, for example. It’s of a beach 190 km south of Sydney. Usually, it’s pristine, shiny and beautiful: billboards in Sydney advertise glossy images of this place with the tagline, “when was the last time you walked on sand so clean it squeaked?”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite squeak in this weather. But it still is pristine and beautiful. As for the shiny … we couldn’t control that much either; the clouds dulled the scenery and the odd sprinkle came down. But the sheer smoothness of the surface highlights the streams of sand that the wind picks up, creating an artistic pattern of sand streams which glide dramatically over the beach.

It’s not quite a sandstorm, but it did provide a warning of imminent disaster. Major storm cells approach Sydney from the south, originating in the Antarctic cold and picking up strength when they clash hot and dry westerly winds from the Australian outback. Which means that if it strikes here first, Sydney is next – and it will come stronger, often with full force. At least that means that we got back home in time – but not before seeing natural wrath meet natural wonder.

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