Monday, 16 February 2009

in the aftermath of the fires we reflect on what happened

I walked in Darebin Parklands with Penny today and reflected on the events that have terrified Victorians over the last nine days. The speed with which disaster overtook us has left everyone traumatised, and it will be years before we recover.

We've got plans to make houses safer and a major enquiry will study ways to make the bush safer from fire. But it needs to rain. That's the bottom line. As I walked through the parklands and looked around, I remembered that it all goes back to that basic need. Water. Water to make the plants stay green and water to make our air moist enough that it won't simply burst into flames.

I was reading on mark lawrence's blog the miraculous escape of one of his friends who saw the fire come close:
She told me of how they watched as the very air ignited from the extreme heat and ferocity of the fire. How where as the top of one hill was ablaze, the air at the top of the neighbouring hill suddenly exploded in a ball of flames and set that hill ablaze. The fire was still some 3 kms away or so, sure to destroy their home, and they were prepared to leave when it go too close when the late change came through and started blowing the fire in another direction and their home was saved.
I guess the air ignited because of the oils given off by the eucalypts, but I'm not sure.

From another local blog, by Ross Hill, I followed a link to the Boston Globe Big Picture blog, where there are images of the fires. (You might not like to look at number 16.)

To return to our walk in the park...

The first thing I saw was wonderful, a sign that life goes on, one of my all-time favorite birds was sitting in a tree over the creek. (If you click on the picture it will come up larger in another window.)



And the view of the bridge at the bottom of the hill was great.



Then we passed the duck ponds. And that's when I started to feel sad once more. The water is suffering from the lack of rain and its bright green color is a sign of its terrible quality..




As in our own garden, it's now a question of what to save, where to put the precious water. And I'm grateful for the work the rangers are doing to save the historic Chinese Black Mulberries, planted over one hundred and thirty years ago. Big containers of water and a mix of wetting agent drip constantly into the ground.



It's impossible to save all the plants and it's sad to see some trees die.



I was determined to have a more upbeat post today, but I guess it just hasn't happened.

It MUST rain soon!

21 comments:

chasingsquirrelswithrusty said...

parlance,
my thoughts and prayers are with you 7 your country.

Shaorn

curator said...

Hi Parlance, I wanted to drop by because you have been in my thoughts so much. It's hard to figure out what to say in the face of so much devastation and loss...but I send prayers and wishes for a better tomorrow. Keep safe.

Maggie and Mitch said...

We've just come from the Boston Globe picture blog! Mom can't stop crying! What a horrible tragedy this is! We're sure it's very difficult to be upbeat! We pray for all of you every single day!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Slavenka said...

The picture of the bridge is so nice.
I'm glad that you are safe now.

Tina Gurskey said...

Truly, truly, sad...the pictures left me speechless...
Continued prayers for Australia.

Mary said...

Hi Parlance,
I was just listening to the news and they said that the government does NOT want heavy rain in the next few months as that will wash ashes and fire retardants into the water catchments! At least, they don't want rain in the Upper Yarra Valley.

parlance said...

In that case I don't know what to wish or pray for! I wonder where those pollutants will go if it doesn't rain. Perhaps over time the chemicals will break down and the ash will turn into soil.

parlance said...

Tina, thanks. Over the last few years we have begun to realise the power of nature in our world, haven't we?

parlance said...

Slavenka, thanks for that. I hope the fires won't spread again. Some are still burning, but perhaps they won't flare up again. Let's hope!

parlance said...

Maggie and Mitch, I debated with myself whether to post the link to the Boston Globe site. The photos are so sad, and we are thinking here that the photo of the family in despair is an invasion of their privacy, but perhaps in some way their tragedy stands for the loss suffered by so many others.
And I don't just mean death and tragedy here in Australia. I mean our whole sad (but often wonderful) planet.

parlance said...

Maggie and Mitch, I debated with myself whether to post the link to the Boston Globe site. The photos are so sad, and we are thinking here that the photo of the family in despair is an invasion of their privacy, but perhaps in some way their tragedy stands for the loss suffered by so many others.
And I don't just mean death and tragedy here in Australia. I mean our whole sad (but often wonderful) planet.

parlance said...

Sharon, thanks for the prayers.

parlance said...

Curator, thanks for the visit and the comment. You're certainly right that it's hard to find the words. Nature has overwhelmed us and turned our confidence upside-down.

Stanislaw said...

Heya. Thanks for visiting my blog!

We sure hope that you and yours remain safe. It's so hard to imagine what it all must be like and it's terrifying even to try. Our thoughts and hearts are with all of you.

On a lighter and meatier note...
No, we've never feasting on turkey wings. Chicken wings are just about the perfect size and turkey wings would be too big. The ones we have at the meat packer are almost a pound a piece! That's more than a day's-worth of food for us. But they sure look tasty!

parlance said...

Stanislaw, I think we'll cut back on the turkey wings. They're not often available in our supermarket, anyway.

Sally Forth said...

We have a Penny too! Thanks for stopping by, I only knew of your other blog until just now.

parlance said...

Sally Forth, I always check out your blog, because I enjoy it. I can't remember how I ever stumbled across it - maybe it was because you once put a comment here. My memory's not wonderful.

Have you ever blogged about your Penny?

Johann The Dog said...

Wow, what you all have been through is just unimaginable. I am glad you are safe.

parlance said...

Thanks, Johann. It's a strange world nowadays. We're too hot and dry and you on the other side of the world are getting terribly cold weather. I hope the winter is not being too cruel to you.

Ross Hill said...

I like the Boston Globe coverage for the very fact that it is confronting - their images bring you closer to the emotion of the events than the watered-down versions we see in the local media.

It has also been very interesting to follow Peter Williams' stories from Flowerdale at http://helpflowerdalenow.blogspot.com/

parlance said...

Ross, thanks for that link on Flowerdale. I've added it to my regular reading list.