Monday, February 16, 2009


I am Australian-born, and although I have lived away from Oz for many years, I still regard myself as Australian. My home is in Victoria where the recent bushfires have done so much terrible damage. So many people have died--we do not yet know how many--and there are many fire victims in hospitals fighting for life. Like Americans, we like to see ourselves as living in a community of order, of laws and organization, where things like wildfires are dealt with quickly and without really serious consequences. My heart goes out to the fallen, to their families and friends, their neighbours, and to the incredibly brave firefighters who have worked to exhaustion this past week. Thank you and God bless you.

The bush animals -- as my daughter used to say when she was a little girl, it hurts my heart so much. Koalas can't run, and on the ground they are slow and awkward. Wombats probably hunkered down in their burrows, and I hope the fires passed over them without harm. Bandicoots and wallabies and possums both ring- and brushy-tailed, flying squirrels and kangaroos, goannas and flying foxes, and the birds! How do we count the birds? The lyrebirds don't fly, and many of these fires were in their dancing grounds; bellbirds and butcherbirds and rosellas and king parrots and sulphur-crested cockies and wattlebirds and honeyeaters -- where are they? How many have perished? How will we count this? And how do we estimate the forward loss?

The vegetation will re-generate because it has evolved over millenia to do just that; the eucalyptus regnans will regrow, albeit slowly because they don't regenerate from root and branch but only from burned-over seeds; it will take many many years for them to attain their mature height of more than 90 meters,but there are still some remaining forests where one can see them in their splendour, but can we depend on the next generation of Australians being able to see them, being able to listen to the kookaburras' dawn and dusk celebrations, to watch a lyrebird as he dances and sings and courts his lady with all the calls of the bushland? And what if they can't? Does that lack somehow detract from their Australian-ness, from the shared experience and love of the things that make our country unique?

Truly, this hurts my heart.


. said...

Dear Rosella,

Even though I have no personal ties with Australia like yourself, it really hurts when I think of it. Fire is so stealthily deadly and final. The worst of the plagues I reckon.
We have just had a home totally spoilt by water, the fabric of the building and all the contents, but that is nothing compared to the devastating effect both on life and property caused by fire.
And on such a scale....
I think many many people share your pain.
Know what? Go and visit Kerri at colorsofthegarden.blogspot. Her life is similar to yours.

I almost didn't do a Bloom Day post, as it seemed so trivial in comparison to what is happening around the world.

Dreamybee said...

I'm so sorry that you are having to watch your homeland burn. It is heartbreaking to think about all of the things that you just mentioned without having any real ties to the area. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. Hopefully there will be enough survivors that they will reestablish themselves, just like the plants eventually will. It will be different, for sure, but it will still be Australia with all its unique beauty.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I am sorry for all of this! It really is sad:( There are a few other garden bloggers who are from Australia, 2 I can think of are Kerri, and Catmint. Catmint lives there right now and has talked about it. Kerri lives in NY but is originally from Australia. She is so nice...both of them are. (I just met them in the past few months...I just started with blotanical in late Novemeber).
It looks like someone has shared Kerri's blog with you.I actually cannot remember the name of catmint's blog but when I do I'll let you know. Both are very nice:)And of course, Stuart lives there.

Frances said...

Hello Rosella, I am so sad for your native land too. Every creature counts, every single one of every species, and any unnatural loss is to be mourned. I join you in your sorrow.
Frances at Fairegarden

Jan said...

Rosella, I don't know why, but I never even thought about the animals, only the people. It is heartbreaking to think of the defenseless creatures being caught in those terrible fires.

Always Growing

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

It really must be hard to see and hear about those fires, especially since that is where you are from. I know my thoughts were and are with all the people that live there as well as the animals.

Vickie/jilz said...

Just came by your blog to check and see how you're doing. Your homeland does have so many wonderful things, things that make the rest of us yearn for a trip to Australia. I'm sorry for your sadness.