Most of my readers know by now I’m Australian. And all who know me are well aware of how passionately I love my country. Can you then imagine how my heart and soul bleeds for the pain so many of my fellow Aussies are enduring as our beautiful country burns?
Amongst our blessings in this small corner of our world are clear skies and cool nights, making our sometimes blistering days tolerable. Our dear old stone farm-house protects and comforts us … so far. But this morning we awake to a haze across distant paddocks. Same as yesterday morning’s sea fog that rolled in across our area. Or is it? Actually, no. It’s a light smoke drift from bushfires far north of us. The air is still and our weather forecast does not include winds from the north, so we should be safe. But the feeling of dread will not drift away similarly. And the tears continue to flow for the pictures and continuing bad news that surrounds and near overwhelms us.
Too many Aussies in countless parts of our great land, through every stratum of humanity, are finding themselves homeless, stripped of all that made them who they once were. Whether management/entrepreneur/business magnate – or everyday worker/small business owner or operator/ditch-digger – no matter their occupations – BUSHFIRE doesn’t discriminate. Or care. With a terrifying roar and at unimaginable speed, it roars across all, devastates all. Man does not doubt his helplessness against Nature’s fury.
The randomness of Nature is yet another source of wonder. And horror. In the main street of a small country town, ALL is decimated – the baker, the butcher (and yes, if there were a candlestick-maker, him too!) but in the 21st century it’s most likely a mini-supermarket. They’re levelled. Every hope and dream, everything they’ve slaved their lives (and usually quite a few forefathers lives, too)- GONE! And amid the desolation, one home stands – or is it the local hairdressing salon? The owner cannot stop shaking her head in bewilderment – and a ridiculous but increasing feeling of guilt somehow – for being a sole survivor. She continues to ask herself how the whole area will survive without its heartbeat and soul… its tiny township.
Down a nearby dirt road, again, all man-made structures are flattened, charred, beyond redemption. No tree or blade of grass remains unscorched. A shell-shocked farmer attempts to accept the loss of all he’s worked his lifetime for. The tears he sheds are not only due to the smoke-filled air of his still smouldering world. He cannot bear to imagine the final total of his stock losses. He’s already seen enough instances of burnt bodies piled up against fences. Abruptly his head lifts. Was that…? It couldn’t be…? And he starts running towards the faint but increasingly plaintive bleating of his goats. They’ve survived against the odds. He may never learn how, but he cares not as they re-unite.
Would that all the victims could find their way home like this. Would that Man and beast alike were not facing a future of some of the worst post-traumatic-stress known? Trouble is, although we all dream – ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’ – right now there seems to be a dreadful lack of winged unicorns to ride far from danger and the pain of the loss of all those treasures… and realities.
Doesn’t stop us wishing.
OMP Admin Note: Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.
To find out more about Christine and her work:
Christine Larsen, Author
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