The Bush Fireman
The bush fires lash all around us. The wind pushes the flames hard causing them to race, swirl, and create a savagery not see by many that have stood as we do. I hear a bang like a dull canon firing, and see the valley I'm gazing upon ignite with a blue flash, red and gold flames like dancers with flags rushing around always on the move, changing, never still, forever attacking the trees, the grass anything to feed its appetite that cannot be fulfilled. Our beautiful eucalyptus trees so large and graceful, with the way they spread their limbs forth caress the space around them, and hug their neighbours close by.
Today the eucalyptus is the enemy to themselves for they shed their oils with the fire’s heat and so turn the air into explosive vapours, and yet, once the fire has passed they still stand graceful, a little singed but tomorrow they will send their living shoots outwards to create a greenness for our tomorrows. Below them the land will be black, grey and charred.
Mighty boulders twice the size of a house, splits with the fires’ heat, and their cores lie open, bare to the elements that have not seen the sun in millenniums. The sun is red, a dead red, with no life, or strength. The sky is grey, the air acidic with flying soot particles, leaves black and charred float along in the air as like boats on a busy river. My throat is sore, parched. My lungs hurt, and my head aches with the continuous coughing that never ceases. However, we stay, us fire fighters, we do not flee, or say, well others can carry on, and do our bit.
I share my dried out sandwich with a bird, lizard, a turtle by the small pool where I have chosen to sneak away, eat my meagre food, to charge my batteries, and calm the shaking inside of me. Terror and fear of the fires power pumps my bodies’ adrenalin, which keeps my tiredness in the background and helping me to fight back.
I lift some water to cool my face, after skimming the soot, and charcoal away that covers the pools surface. I see a large eel surface to see what all the noise and carnage are about. I throw him the last of my meal and smile as it disappears below the surface without a ripple; he glides below his kingdom and is lost behind a boulder sitting in the sandy bed. The bird takes off and calls to a partner. I listen for the reply, as one does, and all is silent, and I think of all the animals that I have seen in places like these and know, they are no more. I get up on weary legs, this body sure feels tired now, and I drag it back to help my fellow fire fighters along the fire trail.
Albert Megraw ……………………….