bushfire of the season. There have been other fires - smaller fires which, while still bad, have not been as disastrous. As I write this though at least five homes have been destroyed and the Country Fire Service has been warning there may be more. I hope not but I know the reality is that there almost certainly will be others. Certainly the smell of "wet smoke" (smoke from a water-bombed fire) is strong even here.
We are about 20kms from the fire area - and more than that from the actual fire. There is a vast swathe of suburbia between us and the fire area. To be on the other side of the city now would mean not going outside at all. To be closer to the fire area than that would be frightening.
I keep an orange "emergency" bag packed. It contains very little - nothing more than a change of underwear, socks, my passport (for purposes of official identification), something made by the Senior Cat, and a copy of "The Four Quartets" by TS Eliot. I could, I think, replace almost any other book or object I own but I could not replace this one. It was written by hand. There is one illustration for each section. It was made by a friend, now long deceased. The love and care which went into that book is something that still astounds me.
Some people laugh at the idea of my "emergency bag" and what it contains and tell me "If you're going to do that Cat, pack a proper bag."
But I know what is important to me. I hope there would be time to grab the little black box which is the back up for my computer. I hope there would be time to grab a few more things. If there isn't then - too bad. But I want my passport and something the Senior Cat made me and the book. I want to be able to be me - and have those gestures of love.