Tears etc.

Four o’clock am. I have spent five out of the last seven nights asleep. That’s pretty good going. However I have been crying a lot for the past few days for no immediate reason. I suppose it is normal that after a month of twenty-four hour hyperboil, that one would fall in a heap. It’s a state of high alertness, of adrenalin overload, of flight and fight.

I’m not the best at organisation at the best of times but that is what one must do, try to keep a track of all the things that government, insurance, grants, well wishers, loved ones, friends, and complete strangers do for you and work out how you need to respond. Also thinking things through, trying to make good decisions. 

But everything is really ok, good even, given the circumstances. The insurance for eg, is much better than expected, with extra from the government and things we didn’t know we were insured for. Clean up for example, and extra costs of building to the new fire rating. We have to get shutters on all windows and doors for example, also dedicated firefighting tanks, changes to our driveway. Apparently there are some provisions for that, and while we will not be replacing the huge sheds that were our rambling studios and wood working workshops, we will have a lovely small house and a shed, and we can dream now. 

I can’t help thinking how we are in this situation precisely because we had something to loose, and my mind goes to all of the people who are sleeping on the street tonight, or holed up in a refugee centre, or running from American leaders’ latest war, or losing the very land they stand upon, the sea claiming it, all that salt water. 

Our threats have been very real and although we can now see, as well as believe that we will be ok, my body and mind have got used to this state of crisis so that now it’s hard to turn it off. Time will do it, I suppose, but in the meantime, tears.

endless blue sky
and from charcoal and fallen leaves
first flower

***

This post decided to crash and destroy itself. It is something that is happening a lot. We even crashed the doctor’s computer. Twice. Tesla said that human emotions can affect electronics. Certainly seems like it.

I think here I commented how I am sharing this because I am one of hundreds going through this and that it is not always talked about. It is a normal reaction to loss, of course, but sometimes people feel very cut off in the midst of it all.

Also I shared how we waver from tears to laughter and other good emotions, and how my Granddaughter made ‘Cat Poo’ for us and served it like a waiter saying, ‘Would Madam like some cat poo?’

Update

I think the adrenaline is over. Exhausted. But here’s an update.

We aren’t looking for rentals in The Hills. We will stay with our daughter Hana and her family down here on the plains. We’re going to (as quickly as possible) seal their back shed and use it as a bedroom. They wanted to do it anyway, eventually, as a studio.

It will work well because we can help with childcare and Hana is going to manage our rebuild. She is very close to being an architect and has put together a wonderful team to work on the design, and to research materials and necessities for building to ‘blaze code’.

I will miss my hills though, and Lobethal. But we’ll be back and forth. After all people commute in the other direction all the time, and in February / March, I will be involved in an exhibition up there. (Save Saturday 15th February evening).

I had already put together a book of poems on the theme of the exhibition. And a performance poem too. Very interesting how pertinent the theme is now. It almost seems like premonition. I only have to change a few words in the performance piece. Odd.

More about that later. First. Sleep. Possibly for a week. Lol. I first need to be able to get through a night. I lie. I had three nights in a row! But up again this morning before the first grey of dawn.

(Of course, this was written goodness knows when, yesterday?)

23/12/2018
09/01/2020 (two weeks later!)

To everyone who has given to us in anyway since our place burned

How can we thank you enough? 

If ever I had doubts about the hearts of others, about generosity of spirit, or pure love, I have no doubts now. It is incredibly humbling to be on the receiving end of such openness of spirit, and we can’t thank you all enough.  

Beautiful Hearts, thank you for helping us, for digging into your pockets, your wardrobes, your art supplies (among other things) to help us. On Friday the first payment from GoFundMe came through. It is a relief. And while the insurance has not given us the final go ahead, it looks like it will go ahead, though typically, it is far too small. 

And talking of insurance, I urge you to look carefully at your policies. Those of you who are in fire zones, remember that if you have to rebuild, the cost of building a house, wherein the largest diameter space to the outside is 3 millimetres, is expensive. You want to be insured for the cost of rebuilding, with contents, clean up and displacement rental costs on top of that. 

Our GoFundMe will continue to be open because we haven’t contacted the whole world yet. (Lol.) And on that subject, enormous thanks to our dear friend Louise, who is running the fund.

We will continue asking for help because we need it, physical help for our small damaged piece of earth (gardening), and for the stuff of life, objects like cooking utensils and garden hoses. We will ask even though, in the midst of such suffering, it feels almost selfish. 

Also we will give, whatever it is that we have to give, our love and words and art and compassion, and money, when we have it. Hopefully Ervin will be able to work on his art again before too long.  

Soon we hope to begin the process of cleaning up ‘the block’ (as it is now called). The present GoFundMe funds should cover that. It is a beginning. 

Thank you thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Image by Sam Oster https://www.facebook.com/silvertrace15/posts/1475280099305544
Also see her website: www.silvertrace.com

 

Red Heart

Sometimes I get so angry
with politicians for example
or people who are not yet changed,
who go about their business, about their lives
as if nothing has changed.
I am angry with those who do not allow
their hearts to feel or their minds to see.

I am angry with those who refuse to acknowledge
that this is but the beginning
that the world has turned
that the red heart has awoken
that the red heart is beating in anger 
that the red heart is beating towards change.
There is no going back.
The transmutation has begun. 
This is the lesson of fire.
Keep up, People.

There will be yet more suffering.
There will be yet more sorrow
but eventually your anger will be
as strong as mine
and you will    stand   up.

You will stand up and the world
will stand up with you.
Our hearts will beat with fury.
The red heart will beat with ours
and there will be change.

We will stand together
ignited by anger
and
ignited by love.
How can this not be so?
Love is the seat of our anger
and love will be our healing.

Love will be the sacred water
that drowns ineptitude
that, when the time is right, 
quenches the fires of rage
that brings us back 
to our own beautiful, pumping hearts
that brings us back to each other 
that brings us back to the earth
with its red and vibrant heart

first sprouts

https://www.gofundme.com/f/ankth-ervin-and-belinda039s-phoenix-fund

Oscar and Charlie escape with their lives

Charlie and Oscar

I accidentally made a story on messenger with this photo, so my phone is now going ding ding ding.

For those of you who don’t know Ervin, he is 81 and carries Charlie everywhere. Consequently Charlie is grubby. He even had to go up to see the devastation of our place and so is even grottier.

Now, Oscar, he never goes anywhere but he jumped into the bag when we evacuated. I should have known then that our place would cop it. I think my deep psych did.

.

Ervin and Belinda and Oscar and Charlie’s Phoenix Fund.

various angles

People who have lost people
People who have lost their possessions
People who have lost their homes
Their buildings 
Their livelihoods
Their sheds of hay
Their orchards and vineyards
People who have buried animals
Nurses of both people and animals
Fire fighters and the families of fire fighters
Those who are ok but are shit scared
People who have lost the places where they go for solace
their sacred spaces
The community of individuals who witnessed it
The list goes on

Healing trauma takes a long time
People don’t want platitudes 
They don’t want encouraging stories of other people’s survival
They don’t want stories of how hard your or other people’s lives have been
They want practical action, a sense of hope
They need to be witnessed 
They need to be heard
in their own time 
and in their own way
They want to hold their hurt in their hearts like a sacred object 
Or they don’t
They want to express their anger 
They want to spit on politicians who are false, superficial, or power grubbing
They want to spit on people who say the bush needed a good cleansing
They want to spit on people who say this is normal
They want to hold their loved ones close
They want to laugh sometimes
They want to pray 
They want to talk a parrot into silence
They want to be silent
They want you to be there for them
simply present
and witnessing


* * * * * * *


So many people are there for us.
So many people have contributed:
love, support, an ear, money and goods. 

And I will be forever changed to have witnessed 
this opening of hearts.
I will forever be hopeful about humanity 
because humanity is made up 
of humans. 

* * * * * *

Obviously each person’s experience is different.

On a personal level, we have a long way to go. We are assured the final settlement of the insurance will happen, but before it is in the bag, we are nervous. We have found out that we will have enough to build a fire-standard shed with a bathroom. That’s ok; I was brought up in a shed. And we will make it a beautiful shed. There’s only the two of us and open plan is fine. 

The insurance company will organise the clean up, a great relief to me, because it is disgusting. There is an asbestos warning on it, not because it was used as a building material (it wasn’t) but (I suppose) because it is in fridges, stoves, air conditioners and other things, all bound up until they are broken. It is disgusting. We wear breathing apparatus just to be on the hillside. It is also fascinating, like an archaeological site. Not that one would want to dig. 

But I am so looking forward to it being cleaned. I want to stand in the heart of that black bush and feel the signs of life. Already there are ants, of course, jumping and inch ants, rats (in the compost bins that survive untouched! What the?) And rabbits. Rosellas. I don’t know what else. 


Ervin and Ervin’s Phoenix Fund

 

Small joys and silliness

In my daughter’s house, standing in front of one of those cupboards in which one stuffs useful things, we dare open it to look for something and Hana says, “The cupboard of doom.” 

I say, “Everyone has a cupboard of doom.”

“You don’t,” she says and it sets me to, singing, “I’ve got no cupboard of Doom! I’ve got no cupboard of doom!” and dancing a silly jig in faux excitement. 

Something that is no longer in my Cupboard of Doom

 

 

Belinda and Ervin’s Phoenix Fund