Today was a National Day of mourning for victims of the worst bushfires in Australian history. Two hundred and nine people dead, over 7000 people homeless or displaced, whole towns burnt down. Not where I live, but on the fringes of my town. While Grace was having her nap, I watched parts of the service on ABC online. Had a cry. As I went about my day today, I gave in and let the sadness just be, without analysis or thinking about what can or should be be done. Thoughts about those people who died, or who lost someone dear to them. Parents who lost children, children who lost parents. People who lost grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbours. People who had a home and now they don't. Whole towns full of grief and loss.
I thought about the firefighthers and the relief workers, the people who search the houses and paddocks, the police and the bureaucrats, all the different sorts of helpers. About the people living in adjacent areas. How strange it must seem to be carrying on as usual. Or not quite as usual. Or definitely not as usual, as some towns are coming under renewed fire threat when the weather heats up again tomorrow. About how people have been really brave and how recovery efforts are already underway. About how schools are re-opening.
Under all the action there must run a river of sadness. Even here, where people in my part of the city are going on as usual, there's an undercurrent. Like the grey tinge at the edge of the sky sometimes. I guess it's to be expected. It will take a long time for this to pass.