Australia burning — Dear Readers, one of my favourite poets and all round nice person, Frank Prem, is currently writing a series of poems on the bushfire crisis that is underway in Australia. Frank is the author of Devil In The Wind, a collection of poems about the personal accounts of those who experienced and survived the horrendous Black Saturday bushfires that swept across Victoria (Australia) in 2009. That book was published last year. Needless to say, I won’t be reading it until the smoke has cleared.
For those of you who may not know, Frank lives in an area that is currently sandwiched between two enormous out-of-control bushfires. This brings a poignancy and emotion to his poems that will touch any reader. These poems are laments for what is, what was, what could have been. Frank writes for all of us who are caught up in this situation. Check out his poems on his website at https://frankprem.wordpress.com/blog/ .
I want to share with you a couple of photos that my husband took in Namadgi National Park a couple of days before Christmas. He and our son were looking for rare and precious native orchids. They didn’t find what they were looking for. Perhaps, because the orchids had been trampled by a herd of cattle that had been let loose in the national park by a grazier or maybe because it was just too dry? My lads did, however see seven lyrebirds (no photos) and they saw some beautiful flame robins. Flame robins? Isn’t that ironic? The inhabitants (the rare flora and fauna) of our alpine national parks are all in the firing line now from the fires that are surrounding Frank, who, as the crow flies, lives on the other side of the mountain range to where I live.
The comment made by my True Love at the time he took these photos was that it was no wonder our son is so good at finding rare orchids. He finds them because he goes to areas that no person would ordinarily go; to the type of places where one might find oneself if in a plane crash for instance. The terrain is steep and inhospitable (to people). It is not easy to do control burns in these areas, and even if feasible, would be hugely expensive. Our National Parks staff are to be commended. They do much to look after these vast wilderness areas with the little resources they have. There are risks to living in a drought and fire prone country. Is this a price worth paying? I think it is. We can do more though to prepare for the inevitable outbreak of bushfire. We can do more to avoid a worst-case scenario of climate change that adds significantly to that risk and the potential impact of natural disasters. We can and we must do more, otherwise what’s the point of being?