Bush Fire Season: A Message from the Ashes

Sep 30, 2013 | Nature | 0 comments

fire sunset
Things are hotting up over here on the eastern seaboard of New South Wales. Well, probably not just over here if you think in terms of the planet heating up. But, for now, let’s skirt the global warming issue and focus on right here.
It’s early spring, and because we’ve had very little rain the last few months, our property is crackling-dry. We’ve been hand-watering the vegetable and decorative gardens, but all the trees we’ve planted are having to fend for themselves.
We’re fortunate to be hooked up to town water, as well as employing a couple of rainwater tanks, but some of our local friends are having to buy their water. And, it’s not cheap.
Yesterday, strong and wild winds whipped up a fire in a small neighbourhood about 15 kilometres from our home. It soon was a blaze that got out of control. Daniel and I were on the other side of the bush fire shopping in the town of Taree, and, because of the road closures, we couldn’t get home for 6 hours. Residents had been evacuated from a couple of suburbs, but luckily no property was lost.
Even though I was in no personal danger, I found the whole experience exhausting – a combination of anxiety, exposure to smoke, and memories of home fires I’d experienced as a child.
The Rural Fire Service has been making dire warnings about this year’s ‘fire season’, which seems to have kicked off a month ahead of time.
There’s a refrain that keeps coming up for me these days: what’s to become of us? Taken one way, it means, ‘Oh, lordy, we’re in deep shit’. Taken another way, it leads to the next question, and then an answer of sorts: ‘Who knows?’ and, ‘All we have is now.’
That answer might sound a little too philosophic, even a tad glib. Maybe it comes from the yoga teacher in me or just life experience. I lived through the cold war era when people in the U.S. were building bomb shelters in their backyards; and most people I know, including me, made it through the GFC, considered by many economists the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And. last night, I made it home safely.
It’s a sad day when worry supplants the blessings that are here right now.
We humans do have access to happiness, even in worrisome times. Meditation helps with this. It teaches us to find happiness now. The good news is it’s always now.


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