A chorus of birds heralds a hot morning.
At the bird bath they drink and preen.
Feeding fast, before seeking shade.
A warm breeze blows from the north.
An hour more it will be hot.
The ashey memory of "Black Saturday" as near as a sniff.
Eggs fry on the road.
Dog paws burn at the whim of careless owners, themselves well shod against the heat.
Countryside kindling dry, grass high, lush pastures
On a day like this those fires began.
Poorly maintained powerlines.
One spark too deliberate.
Fueling the blackest fires in Australian History....
By evening ablaze.
Extinguishing life in its path
The news did not conclude for a fortnight,
"Victoria burns as town after town"...
Taggerty and beyond
173 lives lost
2029 homes destroyed
4,500 square kilometres of land burned
The forests and land
And the creatures.....
Few lives left untouched, my own included:
Barry, fellow activist and friend
Brian Naylor, a TV face all Victoria knew, alongside his wife, their children, best mate of a family friend
Proud King Lake Resident
Students, searching for their pets, accomodated by relatives.
"At least Dad survived"
"All the photos of my childhood burned in our house in Violet Town Miss"
"Our cat turned up, our dog didn't"...
Amidst the devastation
My Home Group collected a record $500.00 the following Tuesday, for the "VICTIMS",
Mostly we were lucky to make $3.00
State of grief
Recurring still, sixteen years on
On days such as this
Initilly we were only VICTIMS or LUCKY ONES, here in Victoria.
Amidst chaos and displacement
Then survivors heavy with guilt,
Their home did not burn
But their neighbours did.
Then just plain survivors
Organising, building and rebuilding
Still fighting the fires that fuelled a Royal Commission
As phases of grief burned hot as Black Saturday across many fronts.
The dawn chorus that began that blackest of Saturday's ended with the roar of fire.
Screams of anguish and grief.
Lives to be reclaimed, or made history,
Drawn from hell on earth
We can only ever hope that tomorrow's dawn chorus will remain loud, strong and vibrant as today.
Useful links to help remember or research.
Sam, the koala that became a symbol of survival