Monthly Archives: December 2019

On the fire at Oakey Park, 20th December 2019

This night the aftermath of the fire is so beautiful. There is a calm. One feels like praising and giving thanks. That I did and, besides, drank wine.

Dotted on the hills and even quite close, in the night, there are the firefly glows of burning logs but with the knowledge that they can do no harm. There is no contagion, for all around is already burnt.

In the last of the daylight, I walked perhaps halfway up to the rocks that sit sentinel above my house, my lovely house. The miracle was that, for all the intensity, power, speed of the onslaught, the canopy had remained unburned. The fire had been completely within the understory. The floor of the hill was carpeted with ash and the remnants of charred leaves. It was clean, as though swept clean, and of course it had been. Ants went about their business as though nothing had happened.

With good fortune, I had watched as the fire crested around the ridge to the east – not from where I had expected, that was to the north. But from the east, driven by the wind, came first a roaring then a flicker then a wall of flame high up through the trees. It came at me. I felt no fear, just a thrill of the power and speed and the noise and the light. Far away enough that I felt no threat, far away enough that I knew my solid old house would laugh at any attempt to intimidate it. My house, now 116 years old, must have seen many many fires, and some much worse than this.


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