behold : human Be-ing

         Millions of dollars have been donated to this ongoing fire storm disaster and yet obtaining help is a difficult play. When Stephane from Disaster Relief tried to get the RFS to clear our access track he was told our road had already been cleared  ( not this section of it) and when he approached the SES and local Council they said, not a priority . By a serendipitous encounter he bumped into the blokes from the Riverina. 

 Six men set off from the Riverina

with a semi trailer full of farming supplies,

they had a fundraiser in the local

a mate down this way.

they turned up at  the Cobargo Relief Centre at the Showgrounds

wanting to assist someone

heard our track was blocked

came out to help.

all a bit of a laugh

two chainsaws a big ute

files and wedges

lots of good natured ribbing

they cut dragged and cleared,

seamlessly.

for us a god send

angels I called them.

nah… just country blokes

with hearts of gold

a royal act of generosity.

 

             A Crisis is all about applying to a multitude of organisations and proving you are damaged, in need, proving Your Story.  Again and again we have witnessed not help from the charities not help from the government or the council but solid practical enduring support from the community-  friends family neighbours and strangers. 

             Should we be surprised ? I don’t think so. The startling thing is that we still hold the assumption that authorities will come to our aid, fix climate change , fund mental health programs; that… they will do the right thing for the people.

 

Meanwhile Safe has become a relative term

meaning little beyond this moment,

 it is an idea

a structure we build

a fortress we defend.

 

   One month on the Fire dragon remains on the south east coast breathing down our collective necks, making allies, joining forces, building in strength and temerity, playing the waiting game; moving slowly, picking up speed, changing directions, sending out scouts. The effect is unsettling unnerving and terrifying. A glance at the RFS fire map of the east coast reminds us no one is safe. Another heat wave approaches and again we prepare to defend hold and endure.

 

The days of generosity

a point in time

crisis

knocking our sensibilities

provoking feelings

striking a chord as they say.

some thing is activated

the kindness gene

the DNA of generosity

the hormone of care and compassion.

is this who we really are?

Beings of kindness

capable of self-organising

in response

to crisis

acting selflessly

in service to the community.

 

I am witness to the actions of 

Human   Be-ing.

It is a beautiful thing.

 

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the fates thread the loom

 

before new years eve……

thick smoke envelopes our valley

coats our tongues

slipping particles into the blood stream

rivers and dams collapse under the weight

of the hot dry winds and fierce Sun

forests have sent up smoke signals

all is not well

heed the children.

 

and then one day  Fire came

orange red  flames licking

gorging on grasses wood,

devouring the tree the spider the worm

those that could scattered

rose up into the air

some diving to ground trembling bodies pressed suffocating

others fled running  for their lives

some hid to be chanced over, others fried.

 

I waited at the house

in an outfit

I had carefully selected and laid out the night before

jeans and belt

pink woollen socks big boots

singlet, green checked woollen shirt

blue crocheted woollen beanie

thick golden gloves and a face mask.

the hoses were in place

half a dozen of them in snake formation around the house.

the job description was easy,

apply water

to verandah and under

up the poles and onto windows

even the walls.

water water water

next hose next verandah repeat

oh and stay alive.

 

strangely calm

waiting, watching the advance

creeping into the bush like a thief in the night

with  an almighty roar.

John in his red woollen shirt ,

hoody up and mask on,

starts the pump

water is running from every hose

the verandah wetted from the night before

but we hose it all again.

the gutters are filled with water

watching

a ring of fire at the dam

the shack goes up

a loud  whump signals the end of  Rebeccas BMW.

fire scaling up tree trunks

gobbling shrubs ferns grasses

stringybarks bush-cherry

angophoras red gums

snapping leaves leaping dancing cavorting

and coming directly towards us.

it  picks up pace coming up the slope from the dam

a wall of flame approaches the south verandah.

John is calm

he has a the high pressure hose

fire meets water and determination

water holds

John stands firm.

 

He built this house

made every brick

from the earth in front of the house,

it literally rose up out of the ground

one brick at a time

for over 30 years a family home

one that now rings to the tune of grandchildren,

blood sweat tears births deaths marriages

this house alive, pulsates with love.

 

inside smoke is thick

visibility zero

bath tub full of skanky dam water

Zoes woollen blankets a sodden heap on the floor

a good escape to crawl under to steady the breath

before returning  outside to the heat,

the inferno the hoses and water.

embers skipping onto the roof

making holes in the clear roof panels

curling embers meet sodden verandah and vanish

no burns on the boards, no blisters on our bodies.

a window cracks in the bedroom

the window where our mobiles sit to get reception.

 

dust soot ash and charcoal coat everything

charred trunks and limbs

a whole understorey has disappeared.

will we see now?

will we wake to reality?

our Planet home

our beautiful beautiful home

trying to deal with our consumables, our plastics

our fumes our anger.

too much she cries

too much,

forgive us for we do know what we do

we know

that’s the tragedy

we know.

 

some days after the main fire front had passed

trees still smouldering

roots deep in the ground  burning,

many elder trees are continuing to fall

walking on crusty black ash

the ground as if plowed up

giant holes where once a root system lived

patterns of ash like crop circles

skirting fallen trees

shallow breathing the air

smoky thick and relentless

visibility limited.

we leave our burnt forest

drive through a silent world

a charred smouldering valley,

some neighbours houses mere rubble

power poles smashed sideways

wires curling in chaos

cows dead.

We come to our village

half the main street has been smashed

this is my new world.

 

 

the tower has fallen

the spin of ideas and aspirations has tripped

been knocked sideways

taken a slam.

the Fates thread the loom

again

They weave

brightly coloured lights bounce from fingertips

glories rarely glimpsed

consciousness stretches

tugs

elemental energies dance

holding holding holding

while the tapestry is woven

the women are Singing.

 

 

 

It was New Years Eve

If I turn my back on the Forest now at this very moment when She is burnt to cinders and it appears that life has been extinguished, then I am not a true friend.

If I turn away now because it pains me to see the charcoal embers of my dream that has turned to ash in my mouth then I would be committing betrayal.

For this garment that She wears now; the Little Black Number, the ashes to ashes killer outfit is just another frock in the wardrobe of the life of Forest.

It is my call to find the Beauty within, to see the promise that is held in waiting, to hold true, stand fast, cradle the seed of tomorrows and acknowledge the whispers of renewal.

If I am a true friend, if everything I have ever said is to retain its meaning and integrity then I must stay observe and witness this phase of devastation.

I will croon sweet songs of lament and sorrow, of hope and resurrection to Her.

I will say thank you for revealing another facet of your mighty Being to me, for revealing the face of the Fire Goddess.

I honour your courage in Burning, burning standing, burning falling collapsing, giving all in the face of this onslaught.

And I who have heard your screams will weep hot tears of sacred water for your loss.

Your loss is my loss. Your pain is my pain.

Together we shall hold hands and gently tenderly heal our broken hearts, our broken skin, our blistered and fevered minds.

Together we will sing of a new life emerging, a new dance awakening. a new song singing.

This I have learnt; the roaring of an approaching fire is hugely loud , it is so loud that while it was still miles away it woke pulled us out of bed and sent us out into the paddocks to see the huge glow behind the mountains. 

I have learnt that fire dances ; plays with air, tussles with water and scalds earth , behaves erratically mysteriously, beyond our plans and ideas. 

I have learnt that humans are resourceful and brave, that our differences become nothing and over a fenceline the farmer and the forest lover can hug and cry together, pleased to see that each other has survived.

I have learnt that humans are kind and caring and helpful in times of crisis.

For all the creatures burnt to a crisp or asphyxiated I weep, for all that have survived and returned I rejoice.

 As the days go on there are turtles at the dam again, wallabies some not all of the tribe yet, there is rufous fantail and grey fantail , there is magpie singing the morning song and the evening song, the whip bird the kookaburra the wombat the boo book owl, crimson rosellas and yellow tail black cockatoos.

what will they eat? what is left for them now?

I pay homage to the ancestors guides allies , to the spirits of land and air and sea and fire, to the angels and wisdom voices ,to all that have supported protected held me in their embrace for all of You I give thanks and many blessings. 

I have a dream……. within this flame there is the possibility of Deep Change- effecting  renewal redemption salvation even – at the very least an opportunity to take stock  – to come clear about who we are and where we are – redesign how we think, how we build, how we create, what we need, what we can have, and who we Become.

x

O : Oh great spirit

there is a cupboard in the kitchen and on the inside of one of the doors is this prayer…….

 

oh vintage

 

oh great spirit

creator of all

blessed be the big and

blessed be the small.

 

oh fire that warms and

water that cleanses

light that shines and

love that surrenders.

 

oh earth that provides and

air that breathes

hearts that declare and

minds that receive.

 

oh great spirit

friend and lover

blessed be the father and

blessed be the mother.

 

we give thanks.