OPINION

Lucky country goes into uncharted territory

Lucky country goes into uncharted territory

Day has become night and people have become refugees within their own country.

We are, at this time, not near the fires. We are divided between going about our lives - shopping for school stationery, feeding animals, doing housework - and staring in horror at the footage we are seeing on television.

We don't really know how to deal with this.

We're not used to trauma on this level. This is horror on a grand scale.

We are seeing interviews with people who are being phenomenally brave.

They have lost their homes and all within them but are showing their gratitude for their lives.

We are seeing firefighters who are going out day after day into terrifying and horribly dangerous situations, and some of them are not coming home.

And still it doesn't rain and still the temperature rises.

Australia has been so lucky for so long.

For once, it is us who are the object of pity and sympathy from around the world.

While walking around grieving is of no use to the people who really need a hand, there is a need to understand exactly what is happening, to pay respect to people by knowing their stories.

It was for this reason that I got upset with my child, who was cavorting around, making herself scarce when the news was on, generally just being a kid.

There have been a lot of discussions in our house this Christmas about technology, about which iphone is acceptable and how much airpods cost.

This flashes in my head when I watch the footage of people visiting the smoking remains of their houses.

This, combined with the cavorting, means I lost the plot. Both of us were shouting and there was a bit of crying - our own mini-crisis in front of a television filled with orange flames.

When I had calmed down, I realised I wasn't proud of myself and went to find my girl.

She told me she didn't want to watch the news because she was afraid.

Of course, she is afraid. I am afraid too.

It's been years since we have seen proper rain and we have spent days hiding from the heat inside. The country is burning.

In the meantime, I guess we can admit that going about our everyday lives is the only way we know how to behave. And we can remember that, yes, every day is a day closer to rain.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah.