My best friend suffers from and lives with CRPS , Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. An energetic, intelligent, force of nature herself, she is frequently and for extended periods of time, forced to a screaming halt by pain that comes from nowhere, inexplicable and incapacitating. At its height she cannot stand being touched where ever the pain is flaring. For her, a wife, mother, grand mother and very young (she is 30 days younger than me) great grandmother, it is agonising!
In a world of having a colour awareness ribbon for everything – red ribbon day, white ribbon day, blue ribbon day, pink ribbon day, rainbow ribbon day, teal ribbon day, orange is the colour that is chosen to raise awareness for CRPS.
It seems to me that our country is sending us messages we do not want to hear. Messages that are painful for most and agonising for many. We watch, stupefied by the immenseness of the bushfires and drought crises . In Canberra our Leader and government fiddle and fly out for Christmas while homes are lost, livelihoods are lost, wild life is lost, in some cases to the point of extinction and lives are lost. It is heartbreaking.
Fiddling while the world is burning or dying of thirst annihilates spirits. It crushes hopes. It denies our young the certainty of a future that I was able to imagine in my youth. Sure, that future was not guaranteed. I remember the fear of the “yellow peril” as a primary school child, imagining in my play, with my siblings, how I would raid the pots and pans to inflict deadly harm on anyone who dared turn up at MY house in a communist Chinese uniform! But I never imagined that the Barrier Reef might die! My adult grand daughter, who is studying marine biology, shares her fear of this with me now. I never imagined a Sunday drive in the country to the Hunter Valley in my dotage would no longer have the views that stirred my Grandmother. She occupied “Grandma’s seat” in the car, before seat belts, as we visited Aberdeen, the site of the Police station where she gave birth to my mother in 1916. A trip now is punctuated by great gouging scars of open cut mining. There is no way in the world it ever occurred to me that Merriwa and Muswellbrook would run out of water on our drives to Glenbawn Damn.
I could go on!
We have lived with bushfires in the country for as long as white people have lived here. First Nation People have lived with bushfire for thousands of years before that. How I wish, how I hope, how I long for the day when the toffs in Canberra will get off their adjectival high horses and humbly sit with those who cherish being custodians, not owners of the land, because the land is their Mother!
The pictures I have added are my own pictures . Some I took myself, some sent to me by my older daughter and my younger son. They are pictures from suburbia. Our street, our park, my daughter’s place of work and the view from my lounge room window. The colour Orange is SCREAMING OUT the pain of the land. It is memorialising the lives of those who have died. It is sounding a requiem for species of wildlife now gone. It snatches our breath and fills our lungs, scorching our air even though we may be miles away from the flames!
And what have we become? News bulletins! The dedicated professionals and volunteers facing the fray being joined by reporters with microphones, hanging around for a chance to shove one in the face of one of them for a comment. Dodging wild flames. Risking their own lives and the lives of the fire fighters. It seems to me that back in the studios, the land of “live crosses”, producers and editors are already working out which shots, which live crosses, will get Logi nominations and which ones will win. Scavengers drooling over a decaying carcass!
The obscenity of footage of our Prime Minister, comforting an 85 year old farmer who would not leave his property because he wanted to save his work dogs. He had sold all his cattle as a result of the drought but could not leave his dogs. There was the evangelical Leader of the Nation listening to him at a community centre as through tears and sobs he said “I’ve lost my cows but I still have my dogs” to which “Scomo” replied, arm draped over the work weary, traumatised shoulders of this dignified man “Its all good mate. Its all good”!
ITS BLOODY WELL NOT ALL GOOD! WHERE THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE SCOMO?
I long for the brightness of a crystal, clear day. I long for a breeze that does not herald unnatural heat. I long for a heat I recognise. One with humidity that could herald an afternoon storm from clouds that are not made entirely of dust! I long to be able to smell my frangipani flowers lying like a carpet on my pavers rather than the acrid fragrance of burning bush!
I long to see the colour orange and remind myself of the blessing that I do not have to endure what my friend endures every day. I am not without pain. I too have pain everyday but it is predictable and I know where it comes from and why it is happening and I can deal with it!
What we are doing, have done and continue to do in the name of commerce, politics, progress is destroying our world. Mother Nature continues to remind us how small are and how little we know!