STOP the Home Fires Burning~~by Christine Larsen

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:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, Author

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

Narrative Medicine~~by Søvn Drake

In my early twenties, I lived as a volunteer at the Simon Community, a remarkable program dedicated to homeless outreach and sheltering in London. We walked the windy streets and sat on the cold cement of the Bullring rolling fags to build rapport with people so chilled from the elements their fingers didn’t work properly enough for a smoke. At Christmastime donations flooded our pantry. Delectables literally rotted on the floor by New Year’s, but by February the cupboards were bare (food for thought as you consider donations to charities this time of year). The fact is we all need to work year round to make the world a better place. All of us should and can do more.

What, you ask?

When I’m not masquerading as a writer, I’m a physician and I practice something called narrative medicine. It sounds very fluffy and not terribly scientific. It certainly doesn’t reimburse well, but after using it for 18 years, I can tell you it’s consistently the most powerful tool I’ve seen help people. And you don’t need to have an M.D. to learn it.

Narrative medicine consists of listening to people’s stories and asking about them with kind curiosity. What do you hope for? What are you looking forward to? What brings you joy and makes your life worth living? What are you worried about and how do you find strength in difficult times? Or even, how was your day and why was it good or bad? These seem like simple questions, but coupled with compassion and patience for others, even those different than you, progress can be made.

There is no need to limit these conversations to those who are ill or destitute. Ask your family, ask your friends and coworkers. Ask the girl serving you coffee at the shop. Don’t mindlessly stare at your phone and ignore the people you pass on the street. Engage with those around you in the real world. When you know more about people, how they feel, and what they think, you can better provide them with what they need, may it be a medical intervention, a hug, companionship, a kind word, a cup of tea, or just a smile.

It’s human connection that heals us, bonds us together, soothes hopelessness. When we genuinely listen to one another we understand one another. When we understand one another, we find common ground and on common ground we can move past differences in politics, religion, and the color of our skin. We can care for one another, love one another, heal and grow.

I care for people who are homeless and people with terminal cancer as well as hundreds of others with marred and broken souls. I can’t fix any of those problems. But hopefully I make people’s lives a little better by listening to and connecting with them, and I’ll keep getting up and going to work everyday, even if that is all I can do.

And I ask you to help me.


Søvn Drake is an emerging writer who can be found haunting coffee shops in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. More about her and her writing can be found at: https://sovndrakestories.wordpress.com


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology