Courtesy ABC News (Australia)
On my way to Moora I drove through this region a day before the fire. The landscape was beige and beautiful. I turned the music off and smiled to myself for most of the trip. I felt like I was driving through live art, the softest water colours of Hans Heysen, one of my favourite Australian artists, depicted in land and trees. When there is a breeze among gum trees, if you close your eyes and listen, you hear the ocean. But during this trip, the gum trees were still. I knew they were silent, too. It was the calm before the storm. I didn’t know this at the time.
This fire is further away from home. There is a bigger one closer north to my place that has been raging for days which seems to flare up intermittently and causing concern.
The city skies were sepia on Sunday as I drove out to Narrogin, south east of home. Once out of the city, it is a heavily wooded drive for most of the journey. In the distance I could see a blanket of smoke from yet another big fire from the tall timber country of Collie in the south west. I stopped roadside briefly to take a picture. It was silent and eerie in this vast landscape. During the night I woke several times to sirens and speeding vehicles, no doubt headed towards Collie. I decided to come home a day earlier as I didn’t risk getting caught in a long detour and miss the flight I’m taking today.
The lack of rain and extreme heat, a deadly mix, generates a tinderbox for sure. I cling to hope when the areas that are burnt to cinders will regenerate in spring as many Australian flora need extreme heat. It is harder for people to pick up the pieces though, when they lose livestock and homes. And, I cannot bear to think of all those animals caught up in this!
I drove through Foxes Lair soon after I arrived in Narrogin. It was dusk and not a creature stirred. It was the same in the morning when I usually hear the kookaburras and galahs creating a ruckus in the treetops. Coffee in hand, I looked outside my hotel door and saw just a slight quiver among flowers. It was all I needed to make me smile again,
New Holland Honeyeater among grevillea flowers, Narrogin, Western Australia
The other day I flew home from yet another trip. It was 40 degrees celsius on the day. The announcement of clear skies with strong winds and extreme heat made my heart sink. From experience, in that particular region, it can mean a rough flight. I fly dozens of times a year, but it was one of the worst flights I have ever experienced. The poor cabin crew got caught half way in the aisle when we hit turbulence. She crawled on hands and knees back to her seat. Each time I reached to steady myself by holding the seat in front of me, my hand flew so high off course, it touched the ceiling. For a nervous flyer, I’m learning, I am made of steel.
I’m off today for my last trip of the year. And, what a year it has been! A mix of joy and sadness. There will be time to write about this in the coming days when I’m home again for several days.
a dawn bird
In response to RDP – Monday – Mix