How do you put the last few weeks into words? How do you sum up what we have seen, what we are continuing to see, and what we know is still yet to come?
The country is burning. We have had bushfires before. In this country, a burning landscape is not rare. But to this extreme level? Well, scary is an understatement.
This monster that is slowly spreading across the country, is bigger, longer lasting and more overwhelming than anything that we have seen before. The news is showing it non stop. Showing panic, showing desperation and showing anger. Constant statistics about lives lost, houses lost, animals lost, And rightly so….
But, do you know what else they are showing?
They are also showing the fact that so many big businesses are donating 100% of their profits over the next three days to the bushfire appeal, or the RFS, or any one of the many different charities that are helping out at the moment. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!
They are showing the concerts, the auctions and the community events, all to raise funds for those affected, and those that are helping them.
They are showing the Aussie (and international) actors, musicians and sports stars that are donating, leading fundraising efforts (I’m talking to you Celeste Barber), and raising awareness.
They are showing the beautiful stories of everyday people doing everything they can to help our wildlife. They are sharing information on how you can help the wildlife, with water, food and care. Videos of animals being saved and animals being fed. Animals so desperate for water that we have seen koalas, usually so timid that they won’t come near us, climbing up on bicycles to drink from water bottles, holding hands with humans as they drinks from their palms, and curled up in laundry baskets in lounge rooms after being rescued from the flames.
They are showing our defence force evacuating hundreds of scared, tired and confused people. Having run from their homes and property, only to be stranded on the beach. The only safe place, with no other way out.
And most of all, they have shown the thousands of fire fighters, both paid and volunteer. These men and women who have been away from their families for weeks on end. Who encounter situations that most of us can’t even imagine. Who continue, day after day, covered in ash, dirt and sweat. Who do everything in their power to save property after property, house after house, life after life. Who risk their own, to save those of others. Whose wives, husbands and children, kiss them goodbye each time. Sending them off into the very thing that is causing the rest of the country so much fear.
Tonight, I saw a photo of an old friend. A photo of an old friend cuddling his two year old, captioned by a wife who must be stronger than I will ever be. An old friend, who now, is one of those firefighters. Leaving behind his wife, his two boys and heading into everything that the rest of us are running from. During these weeks, I have thought of him often. Thought of his wife. Thought of his children.
And thought of all the others just like him.
A friend recently shared a quote with me, that stated, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
And so that’s what I will continue to do.
Help, and look for those that are helping.
And in doing so, I will smile, and be proud to be a part of this amazing Australian community.