When I closed Good Grief for the 2019 summer break, fires were already licking at Australia. The anxiety this was causing was a good reason to pull up stumps a little earlier than usual.
Of course as the summer progressed in this great, sunburnt land the fires got worse and worse. Many people suffered. Lives were lost, houses were razed to the ground, our wildlife perished in massive numbers and many people lost their businesses.
It’s hard to describe the impact. While I am one of the lucky ones who only had to deal with terrible smokey days, there were many people doing it a lot, lot harder. Sharing the news with overseas friends, it was also hard to explain that the whole country was not actually on fire. While many hundreds of fires burnt everywhere, many of us in large tracts of land were safe, even if very anxious.
I’d like to think that my government and my fellow Australians will do more about climate change from now on. I hope that from this hard experience a new and better approach to the way we live in Australia will come to pass.
So as Good Grief comes back into action this year it is with an acknowledgement that the big questions about death compete somewhat in the hearts of many of my countrymen, with big questions about their future and our way of life. I look forward to sharing what this means for all of us.
In the meantime, I’d like to share the poem written about the fires by my friend Blue Robinson, and set to the didgeridoo by William Barton. Blue has featured in these pages before.
To hear Poem for Australia, read beautifully by Blue go to:
Blue reflected on his relationship with his elderly father in the following blog on Good Grief .