Feb. 9th, 2009

katiefoolery: (My country)
There’s something completely surreal about sitting in your safe home in suburbia, marvelling at a day of coldness and rain after a day of record heat the day before... and all the while, knowing that fires are raging barely fifty kilometres away from you.

Fires you can’t see.

Fires you can’t smell.

Fires that are destroying the town you grew up in. Fires that are killing people in that town and others nearby. Fires that are ravaging houses along the road on which you lived for most of your life.

I don’t know if the house I grew up in is even there any more. It hasn’t been my house for a while, ever since my parents sold and moved to Beechworth almost six years ago, but it was still there. Now it might not be. Now, it might just be a pile of smouldering wreckage in a landscape of devastation.

One hundred and eight people have died at the time of my writing this. People from the area I grew up in. The odds of my not knowing at least one of them are very slim.

People are still missing and unaccounted-for; I can only imagine the death toll will keep rising for some time yet.

There was a little town we used to visit when I was younger. It was gorgeous – so beautiful in Autumn when all the Autumn leaves fell on the leafy main street. Surrounded by bushland – cool in the Summer heat; shady and restful.

It doesn’t exist any more. It does not. Exist.

An entire town, gone just like that. Houses. Shops. Trees.


Fire descended on towns like freight trains, like the fury of hell. “It rained fire" was how one survivor described it. Wind, heat, and flames. Flames that ran parallel to the ground, reaching out and devouring and never, ever stopping.

So you’re fire ready? You have your plan to escape?

Fire doesn’t care. It’s going to sweep down on you and it’s going to destroy everything. It’s the most horrific, unstoppable force of destruction you could ever possibly imagine.

For some perspective... )

An appeal has been launched for donations through the Red Cross. The response from banks and business has been pretty much instantanenous, which is made even more remarkable by the current climate of economic uncertainty. It’s a little difficult to care too much about that when one hundred and eight people have died and thousands of people have been rendered homeless.

And yet, I’m here with my intact house and my cold weather and my lawn still damp from the rain earlier this morning. With my possessions. With the people I care about. With my cat.

I’ve never been more grateful for them all.

April 2011

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