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.
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.