Well - it was worth a try.
I finally found the time to read the papers that I'd pushed to one side. It made me sad, but as I learned more of some of what has happened, I started remembering my own grief.
I read that Bruno's Gallery in Marysville burned and I mourned the beauty and the whimsy of the place. Bruno plans to rebuild. And I remembered the lyrebirds in our gully. Nev showed me his latest photographic masterpiece, but as I watched I realised that many of the plants and creatures have burned. But the bush will regrow, people keep telling me. It doesn't stop me mourning. Will the lyrebirds ever come back?
And I remembered other things. Spud will never again be able to visit his cousin, Honey, to sniff each other's privates with their tails wagging madly: but always they would touch noses first, the family kiss. And Bindi has not been found.
Then I see the pictures in the papers, I read the stories. I am not mourning a lost parent or child. My house did not disappear in flames. No close friend or relative of mine perished. Just some dogs and lyrebirds. And I've had to move house because my cherished home was too damaged by the fire to be lived in. And Nev's beautiful bonsais have turned to charcoal after twenty years of loving care in some cases. And it hurts.
And when I see the faces of people who have lived through hell and lost everything, I don't know how they bear it. But they do. And we all just keep going. There really isn't any choice.
We need rain. We need the threat to be over. Working in Healesville, I have shared in the anxiety of the town as fires lurked about it's borders and smoke made everyone's throat hurt. Although, perhaps the continuing threat is what keeps people going - there is still work to be done.
The rest of Australia may have had their day of mourning last Sunday, but the mourning continues in these communities. People are beginning to bury their dead. We watch for smoke on the horizon and notice when the winds get strong. Many people are settling into homes which they hope will be temporary while they sort through the business necessary to rebuild. Panga fitted the remains of his whole house into a metal skip that will be carried away on the back of a truck.
You have to laugh. And I don't have the words to say how I feel. John Donne already said part of it :
"No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
. . .
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee."