A very welcome email just dropped into my inbox. Hearing the awful news on the fires currently sweeping through the Melbourne area in Australia, I sent off a note to a friend of mine who I have known since my first day at (primary) school. She and her husband have lived just outside Melbourne for decades now, and with our busy lives and being on opposite sides of the world, we have only been in touch sporadically over the last few years.
But today, she let me know that they are ok, but described the terrifying speed at which the fires can arrive seemingly from nowhere. I hope she won’t mind me quoting her, but I thought these lines brought that switch from safe to life-threatening home:
“One friend left her house with one suitcase -she is very paranoid about bush fire and left “early”, as it turned out, her early departure was in fact 10 minutes before a fire ball came through. Her house has gone and 22 people in her village died. We had celebrated her 50th two weeks in her local pub – now that whole area of St Andrews is pretty much decimated.”
It occurred to me how my filter of attention is very different when I know someone in that area who is living through those events. It also struck me how connected we are, in spite of the intervening years and distance.