February 2nd was Groundhog day. Literally and figuratively.
This time last year the east coast of Australia was ablaze. We watched the news coverage in horror. A friend reached out to me to see if I would support fund raising efforts led by Jackson McDonald for bushfire affected area in Victoria. I was happy to donate a gift voucher to the cause. Shortly thereafter the whole COVID situation rapidly evolved and the news was flooded with uncertainty, lockdowns and panic buying.
The people who won the gift voucher in January 2020 only reached out to me a few weeks ago to book their session. For a short time we enjoyed getting gorgeous images of their beautiful French bulldog and feeling like things were normal. That session was just an hour before a press conference announced a five day lockdown for the Perth, Peel and South West regions of Western Australia.
It’s almost like the last twelve moths are just starting up again. I got my first Corona virus test (virus Not Detected I’m pleased to report). A massive, destructive bushfire is raging north east of Perth. Many homes have burned to the ground, but so far no human resident lives lost thank goodness.
This week I was mean to be heading back to college, filled with enthusiasm to pick up where I left off at the start of last year and hopefully complete my Advanced Diploma which I have been undertaking part time. That’s been pushed off a week for now, but who knows when and how that will proceed. For me it’s such a small disappointment in the scheme of things. I’m fortunate to have a home, and a part time job I can perform from it. So far our loved ones are safe and healthy and full stocked with the essentials of life.
Looking out the window yesterday it looked like Armageddon. The sky was filled with smoke and ash was drifting down over the metropolitan area. People we know have been evacuated, and some have lost their homes. Our hearts are breaking for them. My Facebook memories remind me that six years ago we were anxiously watching the Northcliffe bushfire getting ever closer to our family in the South West and I recall the anxiety that came with being so far away and so helpless.
The heart-warming thing is watching the Western Australian community rally together; follow expert advice, offer assistance and show patience. People are getting tested, people are wearing masks, people are reaching out to check on each other in all the virtual ways they can. People are offering food, clothing, shelter and feed for pets and livestock to those uprooted from their homes and properties. The firefighters and the health care workers are doing the most amazing job in extreme temperatures with 37 and 38 degree days.
We will be doing all we can to support those who need it in coming days. It will likely come in the the form of a cash donation as we’re limited in what else we can do under the circumstances. We are thankful to be in a position to do so. Our thoughts are with all those who have lost so much and home that we will all get through this with patience, and kindness and compassion.
The wildlife and livestock impacted by fire are also in our minds and the carers that work tirelessly to aid these creatures are our heroes also.
The New Normal
The cover image here is titled The New Normal. It was one of the first images I started in my 2020 lockdown project. While I was thinking about COVID when making this one, it applies equally to the way in which we are experiencing the anxieties of climate change and the extended harsher bush fire seasons worldwide.
Uncertainty is the new normal. The theme of this image is that there are days when all that uncertainty will get you down. There are days when it will be hard to get out of bed. It’s ok not to be ok some days. It’s ok to ask for help, to take some time out, to shed a few tears or even get a little cranky.
The image is a composite and here are its parts.