Home Among the Ashes

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

Emili Rackemann discusses the Australian bushfires

The land that woke us

Having been in transit the last two weeks, I'm happy to say I am once again nestled in the beauty of our exquisite mountains; this time with a grey undercurrent, hazardous smoke and restless souls who are emotionally in transit although mindful there is still hope.

Having evacuated our beloved community on the second day of what I assumed would be a delightful start to the decade, each material possession I encountered ever so briefly seemed to become nothing but density. While I felt the urge to pack up every sentimental piece I dearly treasured, in the same moment it felt pointless to hold onto the past. With an 18 hour evacuation window, I managed to ponder over what I truly valued. To be honest, it all fitted in one luggage bag aside from three fish, a dog and my husband.

For those of you around the world who refrain from mainstream media, Australia's bushfire disaster has permeated millions of hectares of our precious land. Communities have been destroyed, lives have been lost and our dear wildlife have been unable to escape the blazing fires raging through their exquisite surroundings.

While fire season has come early, it is clear preventative measures have not been fulfilled on a national scale. As a result, it has steered my attention towards the priceless knowledge of our traditional landowners who have passed environmental knowledge down through many generations. Unfortunately they're traditional ways have had minimal attention in our modern day society. Again, we haven't listened.

When I was a child, our family used to burn off every year on our property since the late 1950's, in the company of our Indigenous managers who knew the land extremely well. 5,000 acres of 25,000 was native forest. The technique we used was very similar to Victor Steffersen's traditional practices; in no way was the landscape hindered. Instead, drought stricken country was managed well, showing an abundance of green grass and stable conditions where trees continued to flourish and wildlife prospered. While some may question the above, I have encouraged my community to find the equilibrium between fire prevention protocols and climate change. It has clearly sparked debate on our local community Facebook page, although nevertheless has equally stimulated genuine intention and a desire to change our paradigms as a collective.

Having been away for over a week, I was happy to return to an erect home and clock tower residing in its usual place in the middle of town. Home felt like home, a few locals were were strolling the streets, although the emotional turbulence whispering through small businesses was disheartening. Families who depend on tourist trade quietly shared their concerns to the old timer's sipping away at their morning coffee. Tip jars were full, although small in comparison to summer's annual turnover.

At present I feel safe; and although the town is quiet, I'm enjoying the occasional twitter of local birds in between the sadness of many lives lost. Within the overwhelming grief scattered across our continent, somehow a convoy of determination trickles through the darkness to rebuild and re-establish what once was.

As a community member I wish I could do more, although it's comforting to be of service to our local wildlife carers should they need an extra hand. The phone may ring in the coming days as access has not yet been granted to fire effected areas, although let's hope for the best. In the meantime offering to volunteer at local businesses feels nourishing, though it's understandable the welfare of staff has also been a primary concern. Most employer's have kindly declined in favour of sharing the love between team members who are also trying to make ends meet. The domino effect clearly runs deep.

Although one can easily become lost in the density of such turmoil, from grief has risen an abundance of gratitude. Wildlife Victoria is not excepting any more volunteer submissions (we tried), local CFA firefighters are supported by everyday folk, and people are showing daily acts of kindness with the aim of lifting the vibration of local communities and families within.

So one may ask - where to from here? While there is compassion and gratitude, there is also the undeniable reality of the human ego. As the land plays its cards in the hope of awakening humanity, the polarities of our earthly nature tests how far we will dig for drama. I often compare the Earth plane to a simulator - some of us immerse ourselves in the dream, while others understand that becoming the observer, no matter how difficult, is how one can move beyond the illusion and return to their centre. The bottom line is, we need to listen. It is in times like this, Conscious Thinking plays an important role in moving out of the fire and into creating solutions. No longer can we blame, although in the same moment we can not afford to become ignorant of the reality in which we have created.

So I ask myself - at what level of disaster do we listen and shed our ego of misguided understanding? Is it possible to re-establish preventative measures to avoid such disasters when the powers that be continue to shift the responsibility onto neighbouring parties? In this case, I certainly hope so.

It is evitable one cannot set goals for others; and as much as I wish to influence the world, it is clearly at the feet of a system far greater than I. That said, it is comforting being part of a beautiful community; small enough to make a difference and big enough to explore new concepts.

Would you like to help Australia? Please kindly donate to one of the following trusted organizations.

Country Fire Authority

Animals Australia

Wildlife Victoria

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service Inc.

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal in Australia

'No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living in the now.'

- Alan Watts


Recent Posts

See All