The Black Saturday Bushfires
I vividly remember the weekend of the Black Saturday bushfires. Having grown up in the city, never really venturing far into the country, I couldn't even imagine the devastation of leaving behind your life, only to know it's a matter of time before it's destroyed.
It had certainly been a stinking hot summer, with little to no rain for an entire two months. In fact, it was said to be the worst heat wave Victoria had ever experienced. At the time, Victoria's water supply had diminished, and we were all living under severe water restrictions.
On Saturday 7 February 2009, we all woke, and went about Saturday as usual. But it was in the air. You could smell it before you even knew what had happened. The sky was blanketed with a dark, orange fog, and the sun continued to relentlessly beaming down on us. The news was devastation. People were either evacuating their homes, only to know it'll be completely destroyed. Others weren't so lucky, and had to fight the flames on their own. Some escaping in the knick of time, being chased by excruciatingly hot flames. And one little koala, so thirsty and homeless, drank hand-in-hand from a fireman's water bottle. Every aspect of this weekend, was painful to watch. The suffering was so apparent, you could smell the cries in the air.
Australia was under attack by none other than mother nature. The south was sweltering heat, and persistently fighting bushfires. The North wouldn't stop raining, and was engulfed by monsoons. It was really one of those moments where you can't believe the differences in one country, only a state apart.
Five years later, you can still see the devastation. Forests of dead trees, only finding new life on the bush floor. Towns still being rebuilt, most residents having moved on.
That being said, there's something beautiful about these vast spreads of dead trees. The idea of life after death, about revival, and of a state of citizens acknowledging one single tragedy, together doing their part.
To those who lost homes, loved ones, or were touched by this tragedy in any way – this goes out to you.