Paula’s latest Thursday’s Special theme is message. This sign, just up the hill from where I live, offers a scary message, lurking in that word “safer”. Not safe, mind you, just safer. Bushfires are a real and present threat around here. My village is in the middle of a strip of the discontinuous Eurobodalla National Park, and part of its beauty is the bush, which comes almost down to the sea. However, it’s part of its terror too.
I’ve had a few heartstopping encounters with bushfires over the years, not here, but where I spend my weekends. Once you can see the shape of the flames there is no guaranteed safety, the price you pay for being surrounded by spotted gums and casuarinas, and looking out the window at lyrebirds and sacred kingfishers.
As if “safer” isn’t enough, the message continues. Here, at the tip of the headland surrounded by the village, just near the track down to Jemison’s Beach, is the “place of last resort.” This gives a whole new terror to the word resort, which is how most people see my home: a peaceful place where you can loll on the beach, and frolic in the waves, and ride your bike on bush tracks and see macropods grazing on village lawns. However, once you reach “last resort” there’s no room for anything but fear.
Fortunately this summer there’s been enough rain to dowse down the threat, but summer’s not over yet.