Showing posts from February, 2010

A different kind of fireside story.

So far this year we have been lucky. It’s been cooler and damper. The fires that have flared have been small, contained and, in the end, extinguished. This is more to do with luck than good judgement. Things have gone our way this year. This is in stark contrast to last year. The Black Saturday fires that ripped through bush, communities and people’s lives last year are the ones that people remember. That’s understandable. But they were not the only fires that flared at that time. Others burned as well, and in these we can see the other side of Australian fires. On Sunday 8th February Victoria awoke and tried to comprehend the unimaginable. How could so many, so much, have been taken in a single day? Such things should not happen here. On that day, as the news from elsewhere became worse and worse, lightning struck near Sealers Cove, on the east side of The Prom. The fire that was sparked did not claim any human lives. It did not burn any buildings. This fire was started by nature, no

Walking with Ghosts.

It was wet on the way to work. Yesterdays rain still in the gutters, on the pavements, on the leaves of the plants pushing out over the path. Leaves, gum nuts and lost twigs were heaped in the gutter and packed under the tyres of parked cars. Water bottles, scraps of paper, random litter, buried in the flood line high point of the water's flow. But the sky had a blue tinge, the cloud was thinning, the rain gone. It had moved north. All that was left was its ghost. As I stepped over the puddles and around the flood-washed wreckage I was walking through the past. Ghost water from yesterday sitting in today. We are surrounded by ghosts, but mostly we don’t see them. Old trees. Old houses. Long abandoned signs on the sides of shops. Even the names of the suburbs I walk through are ghosts of a different time, when all things pointed to the north west where the point and source of it was. These ghosts tell a tale of a different time. Our landscapes are full of ghosts as well. Ghosts of t

West Side Story.

Cut into the south coast of Victoria is Port Phillip Bay. In typical style this is shortened to The Bay by most people. If you are from Melbourne this makes sense. There is only one bay for Melbourne, so there is no risk of confusion. The Bay is no neat apple shaped incision into the main land, and the way to the sea is narrow and dangerous. The Bay’s entrance is known as The Heads, and within this is The Rip, a narrow passage of shoals and rocks, through which the water does literally rip . The spelling is significant here. If you miss the 1 km of navigable water R.I.P could be for you. Rapid currents, reefs, contrary tides, all guard The Bay, and with it the entrance to Melbourne. The Bay covers almost 200 km2 , but nowhere is it deeper that about 25m. Just like that other shortened location, The Prom, the Bay is a flooded landscape, brought about by the melting of the ice sheets as the last Ice Age dripped back from its maximum. People chase fish where they once hunted on foot. Mass