The landlady is shoveling snow off our steps. Yesterday was the first blue day in ages. I saw shadows I had never seen before.
And I am sad about the bushfires. Which of course doesn’t change anything but there it is. And because I am writing about belonging right now, I can’t help but notice that the reason I am sad is because they are burning in my home. My country. The place that shaped my childhood. Luckily for me, they are not burning the people or places dearest to me, but they are burning people like them, places like them.
So I feel really quite Australian right now. Having grown up with warnings of how to deal with snake-bites, which jelly-fish not to step on, which spiders can hurt you, where not to swim, how to cover up in the sun, and how much water to take with you if you go for a walk in the bush. And stories of what bushfires can do. How you should wrap yourself in a blanket, and stay down. (Amazingly, in all the news stories I’ve trawled through, this does seem to work in some instances.) I’ve never been bitten by a snake or a poisonous spider – but I’ve seen plenty. I’ve felt the tug of dangerous rip-tides as I’ve stood in the shallows. I’ve never seen a bushfire. But I’ve seen the glowing lick-and-flame of campfires, their nests of embers. I know the heady, dusty scent of eucalypts, and how days like this, they’re fuses waiting to go.
And yet – it’s white outside, and quiet, and cold. I wish I could send some snow.