Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chin up.

It was a National Day of Mourning for the Victorian Bushfires victims and survivors yesterday. I made the decision to sit down and watch the telecast, because for the past two weeks I've felt as if I've worn a cloak of sadness. And I thought maybe the best way to lift it from my shoulders was to have a bloody good cry. Two things prevented me completely indulging myself here: one was that the service itself had a strong focus on hope and help and recovery. Then just as we got to the emotional bit at the end (stirring songs overlaid with poignant images, a guaranteed way to get me to break down), my children decided to have a small and pointless spat. (Cherub said something, Climber shushed him and then Cherub kept complaining that Climber hadn't shushed him politely. In case you were wondering.) So much for my big self-indulgent sob-fest, but maybe that's what families are good for; keeping you from your own worst indulgences. At least my family is safe and housed and fed and with me, even if they occasionally annoy me.

Two things really - I mean really- touched me during the service. The first was an incredible image of a road and burnt out trees. Such was the destruction that the landscape looks like a black-and-white photograph; blackened trees and grey ash-coloured ground. In the middle of the picture walks a lone CFA member, in his bright yellow uniform, looking like a beacon of hope in that bleak environment. It took my breath away and made me weep. I wish I could find the original, but this one gives you the idea:

The other bit was seeing the crowd standing during the songs, holding hands and swaying to the music. So daggy yet somehow so primal, so comforting and ultimately so beautiful.

It was a good service, full of good words and thoughts, and I felt better for watching it. I hope it helps the people who were hit hardest too.


Book-ending our paying bushfire respects was a cafe breakfast in the morning with my sister who was visiting from Canberra, and a family bike-ride in the afternoon.


Because life goes on.

bike ride_7746

My bike got a puncture on the trip back but we had the redoubtable Mister Fixit on hand to repair it and get us on our way home again. It seemed vaguely symbolic of the whole day.

puncture repair_7764


  1. C- they are all great photos - that extraordinary photo you have posted of the aftermath and the photos of your family..

    Thank you for expressing so well how I too felt yesterday.

  2. Glad you went out riding as a family.

  3. Any kind of mass singing gets me, even the anthem at school makes me teary.

  4. Such a terrible tragedy, but a real reminder of what to be grateful for!

  5. I'm sorry you didn't get your healing cry done, but it sounds like the rest of your Sunday was very satisfying.

    I find watching Oprah gets me welling up almost every episode I switch on (just in case you still need that proper cry!)

    Have a good week Stomper :-)

  6. I agree with you about the sob-fest. Being a music nerd i just about freaked out with the 'interesting' interpretation of a Ross Edwards many shrill notes that weren't quite met. I think at that point I did cry from pain......

  7. I attended the ceremony at Diamond Creek oval.(my son was one of the Scouts handing out water & hats & yellow ribbons & sunscreen!) It was very moving to watch it all, as part of a community - especially one which is so closely affected by the fires. I was able to cry as much as I needed, because, husband & 2 other boys were at home & I was able to let it all out. Many here were very close to the fires, so it made the whole ceremony feel so much more personal than watching it at home, I was glad to have the opportunity to be part of the crowd, we all, also cheered & stood & sang along. i found Malcolm Turnbull's speech to be particularly moving. Overall, I think Victoria was not let down by the ceremony, beautifully done, not time to move on just yet though, still too many people to help. Siobhan.

  8. I felt better for watching too, not really yesterday more today - even if I only got to hear a couple of speeches. Somehow it gave form to things and I felt clearer. I really hope it helped or seomehow eased those who need it most.

  9. Wow Siobhan that sounds heartwarming and gut-wrenching at the same time. I really liked what Malcolm said too, and I wasn't expecting to. I do so agree about your final statement here too x

  10. And Widget, that piece you mention had me wincing too. Very shrill in parts and until you commented I wasn't sure if that was how it was written in the first place! I wasn't at all keen on the saxophone.

    But weren't the bells at the start lovely.

  11. Your bike ride sounds lovely. That image is gorgeous and heart-rending.

  12. I guess in a way, as silly as it sounds, your two having that spat at that moment gave you an opportunity to remind yourself that your kids are safe and well and that many haven't been as lucky. I think we all just need to count our blessings while doing whatever we can to assist those who have lost everything.

  13. That photo is stunning! It makes a lasting impression. But yes, for those of us who are lucky, life goes on after these horrific events. It's good to see those boys having fun!

  14. First time I've seen you not wearing purple!


Don't let the cat get your tongue.