Our senses - What will come to yours?
Like many Australians, I have been browsing images of the bushfires which erupted across our nation during an unprecedented heatwave this week.
I have experienced bushfires before, thankfully though, not to the scale of those currently being fought.
What our country is enduring right now is extraordinary.
I found some of the images which have populated social media sites, our digital news bulletins and our broadsheets to be very disturbing. Not for the reason you may think ,but for the senses they evoked.
I found myself transported into some of the images. Mentally I was conscious of the smell of pungent smoke and the taste of searing, ash-laden air in the back of my throat. My skin felt like it was shrivelling as the moisture was being drawn from it.
Then there was touch. The touch of a hand upon a scorching hot gate, as it was being flung open to release stock to relative safety; and the comfort of a long-lasting embrace between loved ones being reunited.
For those whom have experienced and continue to experience the trauma of being caught in the bushfires, their senses will be heightened. Not just the five senses we automatically relate to, but the other senses of temperature, pain, and the powerful sense of intuition.
Stories are starting to emerge of heroic bravery and snap decision making based on instinct. Humans are remarkable creatures in the face of adversity. Selfless, gallant and responsive beings who use the adrenalin released during life-threating events to do great things.
Yesterday when I travelled to the Southern Flinders, where the Bangor fire continues to burn, the horizon was indiscernible. Smoke filled the air and at a bend in the Augusta Highway where the Southern Flinders Range would normally come into view, there was only grey. This was in stark contrast to the day before when billowing clouds of smoke poured into a blue sky.
My thoughts turned to the communities, the volunteers and paid members of our emergency services who will be fatigued and living on edge for days or maybe weeks, until the fires are safely declared extinguished.
For the moment it seems that the worst of this set of catastrophic events is over and as the mopping up begins let’s not forget about the lives which will be irreversibly changed.
Some will say for the better and some will carry deep scars with them for life. Some people will reflect on the events and commit to living life to the fullest every single day and others will be so traumatised that they may never recover.
But what of our great sunburned and now fire ravaged country? What are we going to do to make a difference? Scientists have been warning us for decades and now the data is in. The earth is getting hotter and the forecast increase in severe weather events is grim.
Will this be the wake-up call we all need to urge our leaders to be as brave as the men and women fighting the fires and will they have the will commit to reducing our carbon emissions?
Or will they only become involved in the tragedy of the moment, rather than step back and look at the reality of the evolving bigger picture?
Will they come to their senses?
Footnote: Today my 16 year old daughter was turned-out and tasked to her first incident response as a fully-fledged CFS Volunteer.
Her unit is on the Bridle Track in the Southern Flinders Ranges (Bangor Fire). I am proud to say she is our family’s third generation CFS Volunteer. Her grandfather did not experience fires to this degree, nor did his generation have the technology or resources at his disposal which we have today.
Together with hundreds of other emergency services volunteers, paid staff, community members and family members of those in the fire grounds, they are working to bring the bushfires under control and to eventual extinction.
I can’t begin to imagine what the next generation will face.
Need to speak to someone?
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http://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support or Ph 1300 224 636
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