From close to our earliest settlement, when we first kept records here, around 1850ish we have known and recorded deadly bushfires. Drought, hot winds, plus searing temperatures are a recipe for disaster and we have lived with and do live with this threat. But if you scan world news these fires happen everywhere. California and Greece spring to mind. But we tend to forget unless it is right in front of our face.
An envelope went around work today so we could each contribute to one of the appeals – so we could do something. I emptied my purse and I know I was not the only one. There is an overwhelming sense of shock and horror that hangs like a pall and none of us can think too long on this. The sadness is tangible even though we have not met these faces that no more live or breathe. Emotions of sadness and grief have taken hold of everyone. It provides a bond with any face that carries the same look of horror and as a nation we mirror each other. Each of these 180+ lives is part of us. We all feel an element of guilt because we are alive and have our loved ones around. Bickering and arguing over using too much hot water, or leaving a light on in your room is no longer a reason for annoyance.
Amid the horror stories are the stories of absolute heroism. Your everyday person who couldn’t save his own home but who wandered around his town for 6 hours checking each and every house and helping one person after another find their way to safety. Someone you wouldn’t think had that level of caring and courage in them. Someone you would catch holding up the bar at the local.
181 now dead. Confirmed.
Donations from around the country have topped $30million in funds and more than can be quantified in clothing, furniture and toys. Most of this has come from people like me and you. Everyone digs deep. You see, it could be any of us.
In the morning paper, I glance at the faces noone will see smile again, young lives tragically cut off and look at my own petty annoyances and tell myself ( inside )to shut up and suck it up!! You see, I have so much and I have this evening and tomorrow to look forward to. These beautiful and loving and loved young ones will never see the years I have and that seems terribly cruel.
Each year as summer dies and heads north to visit those we know in the northern hemisphere, news of fires and threats disappear from the evening news and it is almost as if they never were. Yet with so much human habitation and so much clearing it is likely we will see more of and hear of more fires and loss of precious life. While things fade and quiet during the winter approaching, I doubt I will forget what we have seen and heard this summer.
One never knows what lies ahead or what is waiting around the next corner.
This also is so typical – VICTIMS of the North Queensland’s devastating floods plan to hand over their aid cheques to the Victorian bushfire disaster appeal. Vast areas of state’s north remain inundated with almost 3000 homes damaged in the Ingham area alone, a legacy of ex-cyclone Ellie.
This tells you a little about the nature of we who live in this part of the world.
Just a little.