Monday, 9 February 2009


I feel like I've been slapped in the face.

The fires that have, and continue to devastate Victoria have seemingly ripped through the very fabric of the state. 107 dead and counting.

I don't know what to say. I don't know what to think.

Everything I've ever written before seems shamelessly superficial.

When I posted briefly about our high temperatures, in the back of my mind was an uneasy feeling that if things were going to go pear shaped, it would do so quickly. Everything is was just so tinder dry. Even here in the city.

We hunkered down at home on Saturday's record breaking temperature day. Keeping the doors and windows shut tight against the horrid northerly wind, watching West Wing and bemoaning the fact that the cool change was taking its own sweet time. Completely unaware that at 3pm, serious fires had already started across the state.

As is our habit in hot weather, we were regularly updating the Earth Sciences temperature page, cheering when the temperature finally dropped. 15 degrees in an hour - Woot! The cool southerly winds are here! Forgetting completely, that this is devastating news for those battling a fire front.

A pile of clean laundry has sat untouched since late Saturday afternoon in the bedroom. As I upended it earlier today, to fold and put away, the unmistakable, sweet smell of wood smoke and eucalyptus filled my head. I felt sick.

The smell of wood smoke frightens me to the core.

When we first moved back to the country, it filled me with thoughts of romance and the cosiness of home. The endless enthral of an open fire - memorising and captivating.

But after several summers on high bushfire alert (and with no water to defend ourselves) the stress of living in the bush got to me. The merest whiff of smoke had me searching the sky for a tell tale plume. My mind racing to thoughts of fire plans, water, the whereabouts of partners, family and animals.

But it's been a few years now, and my mind has decommissioned itself from being so attuned to those kinds of threats.

It feels like folly, but what could I have done?

I am now trying desperately to not think about what the victims went through, nor the horror that the survivors must face.

All I can do is humbly offer up my prayers of condolence, and grieve for the lost.

(With thanks to Shula and Sooz for sharing)

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