As the Climate Change-heightened Australian bush fires continue, Australian Friends have received many expressions of concern from Friends around the world. Presiding Clerk Ann Zubrick has sent the attached letter on behalf of Australian Friends to Friends Everywhere, in response to these messages.
2 thoughts on “Australia Yearly Meeting Letter Regarding Bushfires”
My home in the Eastern Cape of South Africa burned in a bush fire five years ago. My heart aches every time someone, be it in California or Australia, or some communities here, loses their home in this way. It’s not only that wrenching time of having to leave the home as fire approaches, and then return to what remains, it’s also about what happens over the next year. Living in temporary quarters, grieving for a life, a way of life, second guessing decisions, dealing with insurance and banks and contractors when rebuilding. It’s exhausting. The loss of normalcy, something as simple as washing dishes, or the things one buys at the store all are painful. Mourning those things that can never be replaced, they are not “only things”, they are memories and tangible connection to people and times in our life. On the day I moved into my new home that had been built on the old foundation, the windows and sofa in the same place as the old, I felt so very confused about it all. Sometimes I still automatically start to go to a place where it was located in the old house, than in the new.
One thing that I did just after the fire, while in the hardware store replacing tools, I bought a packet of nasturtiums. I poked the seeds into the partially burned planters and within a few weeks there were bright leaves and blooms to cheer away the blackness. I built a temporary shelter on the property so I could be there during the rebuilding. And, at least 90% of the shrubs and trees that had burned started sprouting little green leaves within a few weeks. I hope Nature will surprise you as it did me.
Life does go on, we heal. And then we begin to deal with the devastation of our earth, as we did with our lives. There is a parallel for those who have lost all to fire.
My only wisdom is to take it one day at a time. Know that you did your best at the time it happened. Allow others to help! There are surprises in finding the people who will truly be helpful. Cheer every step you take forward. There are some things you will never take for granted again. That’s not all bad.
There will be an aftermath when the crisis is over. For me is the occasional panic attack that will strike clear out of the blue.
Although there is an ocean between us I am available to cheer on and understand anyone in need of moral support, as a Friend, or not. You may share my email address with the Friends community for that purpose, and there is always WhatsApp and Skype. If there is a specific person or family I could communicate with while they go through the long term process, I would be happy to do that.
My heart and hopes go with you,
Susan Winters Cook
Cape Eastern Meeting
Eastern Cape South Africa
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