As I sit here on Day 7 of the new year, the new decade, I am grappling with so many emotions that at times feel overwhelming as I watch the tragedy of the bushfires around me unfold.
I have had a house full of people, my family, a total of 8 adults, 8 children and 3 dogs, and it has been difficult to find a space that gave me an opportunity for the solitude to contemplate, process and meditate on what is happening and how I feel.
Yesterday, after 10 days of visitors, I took myself off to the river and then the beach to feel the energy of the land and to also have a chance to listen to the guidance that I was getting.
I sat there and I sobbed.
I released all I had been carrying, holding inside.
Grief, for the people, the animals, the land, this beautiful country of ours decimated by these fires.
The TV had been on in my house almost constantly assessing the fire situation. We had fires not that far from us down the coast and another west of here. They were moving so rapidly and unpredictably it was hard to know whether we were going to be in danger.
My son was here from Melbourne, my daughter from Jindabyne, my daughter from Sydney (my other son is down at the bottom of Victoria)
Yes, people are angry and looking for someone to blame.
And there are many people to blame for this tragedy that is occurring but throwing mud at this stage serves no purpose and achieves nothing to either quell the fires or help the people in need.
Australian culture is known and lauded for ‘helping ya mates’, and we are seeing that over and over again. People donating food, clothes, money. People collecting those donations and then others delivering the donations. People offering their home to accomodate strangers.
The true heroes in all of this are the fire fighters, especially the volunteers who, with no pay, give up their time and sometimes their life to protect the property of others with no expectation of glory, they do it because there is a job to do and they can.
It doesn’t bear imagining what would have happened without them.
Before Christmas I finished reading Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe and if we are apportioning blame then it must go right back to those first colonists and the mindset that ‘they would capture the wealth of the colonised lands.’ It only took a few seasons of the colonists farming the land for the rapid deterioration of the soil.
Now multiply that with all the years that followed then add mining, industrialisation and you don’t have to have to be Einstein to work out the result!
Yes, I believe there is climate change.
But I also believe that what has happened to our beautiful continent and country is mainly human made. We have treated the land and Mother Earth as if she was a commodity and expected that her bounty was going to just replenish like a children’s fairy tale.
Humans have a lot to answer for.
We had been warned.
Too many times to count.
And this is the result.
Think about how much you have contributed to the mess we now find ourselves in.
How many of the benefits of the industrialised world have you enjoyed?
There are none of us blameless.
All we can do now is work together to make sure this never, ever happens again.
We need to inform and educate ourselves as to why it did happen.
When the immediacy of this crisis is over there is much to think about and much to be done.