Walking through fire

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.”  Carl Jung

Sometimes, it is only in the fire that a person’s qualities become apparent. We’re seeing a lot of that right now. The east coast of Australia is largely ablaze. Communities are being razed to smoking ashes, lives are being lost, including those trying to save others. We have been in drought for so long that our land is a tinder box, and the smallest spark sets the red devil howling across the landscape, consuming everything without respect for great or small. We are grateful for the mercy that has the wind blowing offshore, away from the dry heart of the country. People are showing their best side; they offer generous help, risk their own lives and hold out their hands to save each other. The debt we all owe to our fire services, professional and volunteer alike, is uncountable.

Click to enlarge

This is the view from space, side by side with the Regional Fire Service’s map of approximately the same area, showing all the active fires. Somewhere under that pall of smoke, there are people I care about, people I love. Some are struggling to breathe, some are worried, some are gritting their teeth and preparing to act to defend their homes and property and aid their neighbours. Friends and family are scanning the sky and horizon and praying for the wind to drop and maybe, just maybe, cooler temperatures and the chance of rain. The fire service has called the situation unprecedented: they have never had to fight so many fires on so many fronts. The rural fire service, staffed mainly by volunteers, has suffered an additional blow in that many of their fire stations have also been lost.

It’s counter-intuitive to say we’re fortunate. Our country is huge and our population is small. Compared with the US, for example, with its much greater population density, the loss of property and perhaps life is small. But the suffering is just as great, and because there are so few of us, the resources are fewer, the infrastructure to deal with fire is less and the budget is tiny by comparison.

If you believe in the power of prayer, pray. If positive thoughts are your thing, think them. Hard.  But whatever you do, keep in mind those men and women at the fire front.

80 thoughts on “Walking through fire

  1. Mary Anne Komar says:

    Will absolutely have you all in my prayers!

  2. I have been praying for months as many people I know were also affected here. I have family in Australia as well even though I rarely hear from them. The smoke has been blowing up from Calif fires so our air is bad as well but I count every blessing. I’ve been there and never want to see it again but that’s the way of our world now. Too dry. I’ll keep good thoughts for all especially those on the front lines. They are so brave and strong to watch their own homes burn while they save others. Hoping your eyes are a bit better. Hugs.

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, air quality’s a major issue. Even here, we have days when we wake up and say “there’s a fire out there” because we can smell it, and we are a long way from the nearest Queensland fires… Stay well, look after that breathing.

  3. Elaine says:

    Prayers from Colorado ~

  4. knitnkwilt says:

    It is devastating indeed. And meanwhile, No. 45 has taken us out of the Paris agreement. Even though it wasn’t enough, it was something to start and to build on.

    • katechiconi says:

      You never know. There maybe someone with an ounce of compassion, an ounce of integrity, an ounce of awareness waiting in the wings. Our own incumbent is not ideal as a forward thinking and climate champion…

  5. I am glad you shared this post. We don’t always know what is going on in other countries. I will keep Australia in my prayers and mention you at church.

  6. Lynda says:

    Scary stuff! I know the devastation of wildfires from living in California, and it is now worse than when I lived there. I will be praying for your firefighters and those who are facing the dangers of these fires. ❤

  7. Yes, you are all in my thoughts. I remember a few years back when the big fires in NSW were affecting the quality of our sunsets and what an astonishing and awe-ful realisation that was that so much smoke was travelling so high and so far …….. We have the rainfall. Perhap if we all visualise it turning to the northwest it might end up where it can do some real good. I wish you rain Australia!

    • katechiconi says:

      Rain is the thing everyone is praying for. To put out fires, to prevent new ones, to water the land and the crops and the animals and the bush and everything in it. It would renew us and give us new strength. But not much sign….

  8. […] via Walking through fire — talltalesfromchiconia […]

  9. Terrifying and ghastly. We get a lot of fires here as well in the hot, dry months, all I can say is that it really is incredible to see how people reach out to help others. A good friend’s son is a volunteer firefighter, he and all his colleagues work like absolute trojans.

  10. tialys says:

    There is definitely unfair distribution of weather at the moment with some of the U.K. suffering heavy rain and flooding while other countries burn. I’m not one for prayers but I can definitely do positive thoughts.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, and while you’re thinking that, think a bit more about how climate change deniers, especially those in power, need staking out in the path of an oncoming, out of control bushfire. OK, perhaps OTT, but when I think of the poor 69 year old grandmother who died in one of the fires yesterday trying to save her animals, I get a bit angry… Climate change is real.

      • tialys says:

        Oh no! How sad. There must be similar stories all over at the moment. We were just remarking the other day – as it was Guy Fawkes Night in the U.K. – how, when we were small, we always had to wear layers and layers of clothing in order to venture out after dark on the 5th of November and try to get as near to the bonfire as possible to keep warm. Now, it’s usually just raining but not particularly cold. Climate change is definitely real.

      • katechiconi says:

        We’ll certainly take some of your floodwater, delivered as rainclouds. I wonder if in some distant future, they’ll be able to suck up floods, turn them into clouds, and then tow them through the air to wherever they’re needed… Now THAT would be technology worth developing.

  11. nanacathy2 says:

    The fires have started to be reported here, so I know it must be bad. Thinking of everyone in peril fom these weather related disasters. One day world leaders may wake up to the dangers.

    • katechiconi says:

      And by that time, it will surely be too late. I could bang on about drought, deforestation, bleaching of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef, Pacific Island nations slowly drowning as sea levels rise, but no-one with the power to do anything about it is reading this… Bring on the rain.

  12. KerryCan says:

    This all breaks my heart, and terrifies me. The same sort of thing has been plaguing California and I can’t understand how people still blithely deny that the Earth is crying out. I so wish I could send you some of the several inches of snow we’ll be getting tomorrow . . . I feel lucky that the worst we get, mostly, is snow and cold. All the positive vibes I can muster are being sent . . .

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! If wishes had any power, we’d be looking good right now. The weekend was a little cooler, but there’s more wind and hot weather forecast for midweek, so it isn’t over yet by any means.

  13. Terri says:

    Praying for you all from Wisconsin.

  14. We have been seeing this on our news. It’s just awful….our thoughts and prayers are with you over there.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you. It’s horrible, and I can’t see an end to it while we’re getting almost no rain, but the firefighters continue to face the beast every day, people defend their homes, and we continue to hope.

  15. Dayphoto says:

    OH! MY! GOSH! I am praying for rain for all of you and for safety!

  16. I wish I could send you some of our rain… it all seems to be here in the UK at the moment (we’ve nearly had our average November rainfall in the first 10 days here). I read this post immediately after the one from Alys and it really brings it home how widespread these weather problems are. I hope that rain is on its way.

  17. craftycreeky says:

    Thinking of you all, I find wild fires terrifying, we’re having the opposite problem here in Yorkshire with lots of flooding, rivers 5m above their usual level. Keep safe x

    • katechiconi says:

      That sounds like Queensland flooding! Stay safe yourself. No risking yourself and your car trying to use flooded river crossings. As they say here “if it’s flooded, forget it”.

  18. Jim R says:

    Thinking positive thoughts…hard.

  19. I pray for all living beings suffering right now in Australia as well as for our beautiful Earth as she struggles in this difficult time. Picturing the blessing of rain everywhere it is needed.

  20. gwenniesgardenworld says:

    I’ve seen it on the news, it is just horrible and frightening, I just wish I could sent cold weather and lots of rain to Australia. The weather is just not normal anymore everywhere, my friend in Alberta Canada has MINUS 30 C° !!! at the moment !! I hope you are ok ! Is the fire far from where you live ?

  21. kymlucas says:

    It’s horrible, and the future doesn’t seem full of hope for things to improve as global warming worsens. What a mess we’ve made of our world.

    • katechiconi says:

      It makes me grateful I’m not leaving the mess to children of my own…

      • kymlucas says:

        I agree. The only thing that makes me feel any better is the way Darling Daughter and her friends are much more awaren of the world’s problems than I ever was. Allows me to hope they may find a way. Except there are also many young ones who follow our #socalledpresident and want to go backward to a time they think was great. And it was… if you were a white man. I can’t understand it, and I have a few good friends who have similar views. It’s bad enough that our leaders seem to support a misogynistic psychopath. The fact that they are systematically undoing any progress we’ve made toward preventing a global meltdown makes me sick. All because they want to have the individual plastic containers from restaurants and to drive their behemoth, gas guzzling vehicles.

      • katechiconi says:

        And a lot of people want change, so long as someone else does the hard work…

  22. kymlucas says:

    I know this sounds extreme and bitter, but I find it hard to keep my chin up when our administration ignores what seems to be happening, all in support of big companies making a bigger profit. So I’m trying to do what I can, making changes in my own life so I will know at least I made an effort.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s not just your leaders. I try to support companies that make an effort, but sometimes the whole system works against you. I’d love an electric car, but they’re so expensive they’re completely out of our reach. Maybe an electric bicycle? It’s not as if we don’t have the sunshine to make charging them easy as…

  23. kymlucas says:

    Wish we could say the same. I’m in the market for a new (to me) car. Since I only drive manual transmission and want a smaller vehicle, that narrows the field considerably. And now I’ve read that several car manufacturers have filed support for our #socalledpresident and his fight against California’s emission standards, which are stricter than federal ones (which he loosened). At a time when it is clear and obvious that we are reaping the results of our air pollution, they did this. So. Now my options have grown fewer because I can’t, in good conscience drive a car (even used) that was manufactured by a company that supports such an act. It’s OK though. The other options are fine. I just find it hard to believe they are loosening standards when we really need to be making changes in the opposite direction.

    • katechiconi says:

      The Power of the Crony Club… Would women do this in the same position, do you think?

      • kymlucas says:

        I think we would make different mistakes. But it would be good to have a chance to try. After all, men – especially white men – have had it their way for a long time. As our Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said when asked when there will be enough women seated on the Supreme Court: “When there are nine.” (There are nine seats total.)

        Don’t get me wrong. There are many good men of all colors, just as there are good and bad women of every color. But having men in charge for so long means, by default, the laws and everything else is tailored to their experiences and lives, which can be very different from the other 50% of earth’s inhabitants. Reading a great book on the subject right now – Invisible Women.

      • katechiconi says:

        Thank you for the suggestion, I’ve requested that my local library purchases the book. It sounds like the sort of information guaranteed to get me fired up; you’ve probably seen previous posts from me on gender bias in healthcare for women…

  24. The firies, volunteers, community organisations… neighbours, friends, local businesses… have been marvellous. We feel supported, and it gives us confidence that we’ll get through this. The RFS commuincation, social media presence, Fires Near Me app, community meeting with locals has been wonderful, and of course the incredibly hardworking fire fighters at the incredibly dangerous front line.

  25. Emma says:

    It has been so stressful watching the fires go on and on. I hope that all your friends and family are safe and everyone has been in my thoughts and prayers ❤️

  26. I’m so sorry Kate. We too had weeks of horrible wildfires up and down the state, fueled by dry brush, heavy winds, low humidity and of course climate change. Last year’s Paradise fire took 85 lives. It’s unimaginable the devastation of entire communities. Like you, I applaud the first responders, folks that literally put their lives on the line to defend homes, land, animals, and families in harm’s way. My heart goes out to you.

  27. rutigt says:

    We have been following the fires on the news and we are praying for you over there!

  28. kymlucas says:

    Kate, is there anywhere in particular I could donate toward those who are suffering?

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