When we moved to Australia, I knew it would often be hot but, I confess, droughts and bushfires scarcely crossed my mind. Then, last week, a “catastrophic” fire alert was issued, and it was terrifying.
Every family was urged to plan for a possible evacuation.
“Pack your car with essentials: water, food, blankets, spare clothes and any valuables,” we were instructed. “Be prepared to leave quickly.”
We did just that. My family in Sydney was doing the same.
“Go to your rooms,” ordered my daughter, thrusting bags into my granddaughters’ hands. “Pack only your most precious and essential possessions.”
Indy (age 7) and Winter (age 3) rushed upstairs.
A couple of days later, when the immediate danger had passed, their mum looked into their bags. Indy had packed countless pairs of shoes (even out-grown ones), her make-up, and a ziplock bag containing her dead bug collection.
“Do you really need all those shoes?” asked her mother.
“But they hold so many memories!”
And what about 3-year-old Winter’s bag?
Winter had packed her favourite book. Was it a classic? Grimms Fairytales or perhaps a book by Enid Blyton?
No. I’m sorry to say it was her beloved Farts Around the World.
There hasn’t been much to smile about as bushfires continue to rage. Strong winds are still fanning the flames and carrying smoke and live embers hundreds of miles. Lives have been lost, homes burned, and wildlife is devastated.
But just for a moment, the contents of my granddaughters’ bags brought smiles to all our faces.
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