ode to 2015

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to a year, so nearly spent
so much to say and
yet left unsaid –
you have held in your days
immeasurable joy
and grief too heavy to bear,

you have been the hardest year
so much newness, unknowns
in the darkness of the night
we lay wondering
why and if only,
for what –

we learnt  so much about ourselves
our limitations, our gifts
we wrestled with hopes,
projections, beginnings –

and moments like

holding that just-born baby boy in my arms,
filling a basket of freshly laid eggs, still warm,
saying goodbye to my beloved grandmother,
the crunch of thick frost and the drought that keeps on,
the smell of bush fires that swept out of control near us,
walks up the hills behind our house with my sister, my mother,
with friends and alone,
kin moving to the town nearby,
running out of power for two days
(and running out of water for three)
rising early to set up a market stalls,
plucking your own chicken,
the golden yolk of a good egg and buzz of a busy hive –
the kindness of neighbours, the sheep on the road
and so so many funny phrases of our three year old,

I cannot help but close my eyes
and whisper, in all this
we are so blessed,
we are held and hounded
loved and enfolded –

we accept because we must –
that most of life is slow, steady work
and we are only just started.

Spring Pyre

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.10.19 pmA week ago we were evacuated from our home as bush fires nearby raged out of control. It was a surreal five or ten minutes, methodically collecting important documents, clean clothes, nappies. Outside it was hazy, orange coloured – the wind was fiercely blowing smoke and dust around our noses. It was hot. It wasn’t bush fire season yet. It wasn’t even the middle of Spring.

Today as I drove along a familiar road into town, I took it slowly. There was numerous signs with warnings, there were fire trucks and rangers patrolling by the roadside, keeping a watch on smouldering trees, earthmoving. I came across two stretches of road where the fire had burnt from one side to the next. I could see a mass of burnt umber through the usually green national park. I saw a house with blackened earth on every side of it, and yet it stood in the middle, seemingly unscathed. I cried.
Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 1.10.29 pmThis is nature where we live. This is a reality of the Australian bush – our fire-prone landscape, in many ways carved out and cultivated by fire itself. I want to come to terms with this element, but it still feels unknown, terrifying. In a moment’s wind and crackle of flame, one could loose home, creatures, fence posts, familiar, livelihood…

And yet I carry in my hand a packet of flannel flower seeds. A native that will germinate only in moistened ground that has been burnt. How something so softly petaled, so creamy white, delicate can grow out of charred earth. That beauty can come from the flame…
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