It seems that almost everyone I talk to here in Melbourne knows someone who has either lost their life, or their home, or been affected in some way by the recent bushfires throughout Victoria. I went to taiqi this morning and one of my classmates told me that her brother lost everything except his car in the St Andrews fire. She’s a clinical psychologist and was heading to Whittlesea today to counsel people. And when I got home, my husband told me that his colleague lost her brother in the King Lake fire. The extent of this tragedy is so widespread. This morning, over breakfast, we talked about Marysville and the last time we visited there which we worked out was about two years ago. My son remembers a crowd of motor cyclists had gathered in the main street, stopping for lunch as we were. It was a warm balmy Sunday and we ate our lasagne and vegie burgers on the sidewalk outside the cafe. Such ordinary memories have now become like a few precious pearls.
The eerie golden light, the smoke haze, the smell of ashes and burning is a constant reminder that the danger is not over yet – that there are fires still burning and threatening towns. We see tragedies unfolding in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia, but this is just too close to home.