For three days small spears of rain have bounced off the deck table and hung like icicles in the making from the gutters. Home has been a cosy and justified retreat. The grass, mown last week, lengthens and greens. Tiboochina buds promising a purple deck-haze fatten and a few large purple flowers erupt. Downstairs, the poison peach branches hang heavy with moisture to head level, and the branches trimmed back from the upstairs deck for Christmas are beginning to reach back towards the windows. The tipsy cup on a dowel near the front door fills under the rainforest canopy. Kangaroos lounge at midday on greening lawns.

The sea is murky brown where the waves break. Seagulls and a single white crane are busy harvesting largesse where the creek meets the sea. People and their dogs frolic knee deep in brownish curling creek-sea water where last week the sand was strewn with desiccating seaweed and bleaching shearwater skeletons. Rocks once reclining under sand lie in jagged lines.

The creek is deep and inky black. Between the dunes and the creek, flat brown water reaches through the bush to the road. A light wooden clacking noise, undisturbed by passers by, explains itself as a chorus of frogs. The creek invades the fishing spot near the big tree with the view round water curves to the mountains. Spindly trunks on the other bank merge into their reflections.

The next day the beach is even more gouged and nets of beach grass roots cover the channel from the outlet drain. Along the Blackies road, water from the creek has receded, the thin trunks have their base in mud and the frog chorus dwindles to a quintet. But the rain still plops its expanding circles into puddles. It hasn't retreated yet.