Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shaken not stirred.

This is a bit long .....

I guess we all have a view of ourselves

I think of myself as a certain kind of woman of a certain kind of age
Homely and unadventurous
Who reads and sews and crochets

I've never been bungee jumping or walked the Inca Trail
I'm happy with the gentle thrills that life sends my way

I like hunting for treasure and fantastic thrifting finds

I enjoy gazing at the world through my lens

Finding Public Art and unexpected vistas

I like trees 
And photograph them...

When I visit my parents

When I take my grandson to the zoo

And when I'm in my garden

I think I'm gentle, and kind,
somewhat dull, but caring and careful.

So it comes as something of a shock
To find myself responsible for 

I rang the Volunteer Bushfire Brigade
Asking them if they could do a burn on our verge
It hadn't been burnt in over 25 years
And seemed long overdue for our bush fire prone area.

I spoke to a Vollie, as we call them here,
Who said, 'yes indeed, now is the perfect time to get the job done'
'rain is coming, and it will soon be too wet', 
'but you'll have to do it yourself.'

He was very helpful with advice, had had a look at the area.
Told me how to prepare it, make the necessary firebreaks,
and how to beat it out if it looked like getting away.
'Call me', he said, 'if you've got any worries.'

So the weekend came round
I got my adult children to help
We loaded up with water and shovels
We cleared the firebreaks and lit the match.

And whoosh.

What started out as a small fire quickly grew
It engulfed the trees, the wattle exploded
And all hell broke loose
The flames grew at an alarming rate 
Threatening our power line that came from across the road

The containment lines were secure
just the odd spot fire to put out
It was all over in minutes
But, not to put too fine a point on it,
It was, without doubt, the most frightening experience of my life.

That was it for me. I refused to tackle the rest.
It was simply too dangerous. Fire is not to be tinkered with
Even in winter, if the rains don't come.
It was just too warm, too dry with too much fuel to burn.

Less than a quarter of the verge is now prepared for next summer
It's a problem that wont go away 
So there's some serious work is ahead. 
Clearing, cutting and yes, even another burn.

I suspect my view of myself
As a quiet observer of life,
ever afraid of their own shadow,
Is in for quite a shake up.


  1. That sounds scary, having visited Oz I know how fire prepared you all are, but to do it yourself must take a bit of willpower, not sure I could do it either.
    Cate x

  2. Gracious me! You are brave. We only hear about the Australian bush fires here in the UK but they sound terrifying. I can't believe you had to do that yourself! Good luck with the rest.

  3. That would have scared the Be-Jesus out of me.

    Sounds like a job for the menfolk to me :0)

  4. How frightening! I hate fire & I can feel how fearful you were. Glad you are all safe though!

  5. That's a scary thing to have to do. Sending hugs x

  6. I didnt know that you had to light your own fires, does the vegetation go totally out of control if you dont burn it yourself or is it that you are afraid it might go on fire itself? We dont have those problems here in Ireland. I am terrified of fire as well, as a teenager I hated even lighting a match, still do today!

    All things nice...

  7. That must have been a horrible, scary, awful experience that you felt from the top of your head to your toes. Poor you. My heart goes out to you.

  8. Goodness! Don't be hard on yourself girl! All of it was just ripe for what the fire did. At least you had family there to help you with it, and it was put out. A little at a time, and you will do just fine!
    Take Care,


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