My heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful emails and messages voicing concerns about the recent bushfires, smoke and Joe’s health. By an amazing stroke of luck, Joe was overseas when the bushfires took hold, and there he was forced to stay.
He complained so loudly I could hear him from the other side of the planet. But he agreed it would be madness to return while much of Australia was covered in a blanket of choking smoke.
It was October, and we imagined the fires would be put out in a couple of weeks. But we were wrong. Weeks turned into months. The new year rolled in and still the fires raged, merging into giant, towering, uncontrollable infernos.
Australia had already suffered years of drought, providing fuel for the voracious flames. Unusually high temperatures and strong winds resulted in months of catastrophic fires. Live embers were carried for hundreds of miles to spark new fires. Wildlife and property were decimated. People died.
Then, in mid-February, the rains finally arrived. Dry riverbeds became coursing streams. Lakes and reservoirs bubbled and filled. And, one by one, the fires died.
Australia heaved a sigh of relief, and Joe came home.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing the acres of silent, blackened stumps lining the road as I drove into the Blue Mountains after the fires. I saw piles of smoking rubble that once had been homes, shops and vehicles. No birds sang.
But just two weeks later, miracles happened.
Birds returned and brave green leaves sprouted from charred trunks. Nature was fighting back and I don’t believe I have ever seen a more beautiful sight. My son-in-law took this photo, and it still brings tears to my eyes.
Do join us on Facebook to see how we’re coping, day to day.