Sunday, July 25, 2010

24th plan b | sobering thoughts on an otherwise happy day

She took my father from my life
Took my sister and brothers oh
I watched her torturing my child
Feeble I was then but now I'm grown
Fire on Babylon - Sinead O'Connor

A picnic lunch was planned at Healesville today. I had arrived early while my family were still leaving Melbourne. And while the children slept peacefully in their car seats, I decided to hop back into the warmth and keep driving.

I confess to have never been to Healesville before, even though it is only 30 minutes from where I live. Curiosity had the better of me after knowing that the direction I was heading was the host to devastating fires just over a year and a half ago.

For those of you who may be popping in from outside Australia, Black Saturday was a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday 7 February 2009 during extreme bushfire-weather conditions, resulting in Australia's highest ever loss of life from a bushfire.

Black Saturday killed 173 people and countless animals, injured thousands, destroyed 2029 homes, and burnt 4500 square kilometres of land.

The windy, slow drive through the ashen trees was eery, sad and sobering. The black timber of most trees had new growth, and the contrast of the green leaves was stunning.

Hauntingly so.

An overwhelming feeling came over me to close my eyes and take a few moments of silence for all those families who lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes, the animals... all gone.

Afterwards, it was a sobering afternoon with my family. And a renewed appreciation for all I have.