RIP LEWIS. Your furry life has ended now. Bush fires rage on. A brave grandmother tried to save you. Justice hasn’t been done-your species is functionally extinct.
The image plays over and over in my mind-the squeal of the broken alleluia from the broken koala limping from the flames.
Alleluia Alleluia-you are in koala heaven. A koala chorus from the highest of heights. Blue skies overhead. The fires rage on.
Stalking-do new eucalyptus stalks come from fire? Does fire need to burn to bring the stalks? Does the fire stalk the forest or the forest stalk the fire-I don’t know.
It did just happen; a small flame-a gif at first to say goodnight. Then words flew like sparks, igniting friendship.
Ellenborough Lewis was put to sleep on Tuesday the 27th November 2019. His fourteen year old furry life ended at about 2.30 pm. Lewis suffered burns to his feet, chest and stomach, which worsened. After 24 hour care, the staff at the Port Macquarie koala hospital decided to end his pain, because he would not recover.
Your brave furry brother named Wozza should have died in the fires, but he jumped on to the front of a car and clung on for ten kilometres, dragging his leg as the car drove on, the driver unaware of this heroic act. When the car stopped off he jumped and climbed a tree. Wonderful, simply wonderful. Heroes in the fur. Stories to be celebrated and told as hope offerings.
I often cannot sleep. I think at night. I remember-flickers of flame-clues of what was to come. Would I have gone to that place?
Come on-no regrets, no bitterness-that is my promise to self.
What if Lewis had been born in another forest-in Tasmania? What if a million times. The present is ashy-stalking is a fiery process.
‘It’s the eye of the tiger; it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all with the eye of the tiger’
The fires are vast. Australia is doused with flame. Australia’s air is polluted. The airpocalypse has arrived.
Entire koala populations are gone now. Fire has driven us to death. Fire in the fur.
Your fire was intense-your fiery personality engulfing me with attention and seeing my loneliness.
Hundreds of thousands of hectares inland from the coast have been scorched including vital koala habitat in the Lake Innes Nature Reserve which surrounds the town of Ellenborough where you were rescued. An estimated 350 koalas were killed as a result of this fire; however wildlife rescuers said yesterday they fear a “much worse” toll of about 1000 koalas across NSW, Queensland and South Australia. More than 2.5 million acres have burned, where 600 koalas died in the trees.
Burned fur lies everywhere-stalked by fire. Extinction roars at us.
Burning fur drought. Extreme heat, extreme pain. You spoke of love, told me of feelings we wouldn’t act on.
‘Holy holy holy, the angels sing. A heavenly chorus fills the air. Smells of eucalyptus perfume dance and flames sing to the trees. After death comes resurrection.
It took only minutes for the bark to enflame. It took only minutes for you to start to set my life on fire. My life is ashes now-burnt by the fiery desire to pursue my no and make it a yes.
I wonder why you did not suffer any consequences. You are a fire starter. You are a life wrecker. You burn all in sight. You ruin all you touch. Forests engulfed in the flames. So life will never be the same. Home destroyed, friends an ashy remnant, social life extinguished. My future extinct.
We started to work together, to help people on the streets of Bristol-so many in sleeping bags. You rang me one night and told me how you had gone out with homemade soup and sandwiches to help Lewis, a young man who we had met. Pea and ham soup in a flask and homemade beef sandwiches. I felt you had a halo emanating from you. I felt safe under the beams of light. I felt love and loved. I felt you were safe and pure and real and redeemed.
“Hello, is that Aurelia? “. “This is Pat from Victim Support. How are you feeling?”
“I am very low. He is relentless. I am so bombarded. He has sent me numerous texts and emails. I was getting about fifteen texts a day at a minimum. Every time I find a way to cut off one channel of communication, he finds another”.
“Have you reported it all to the police?” It’s really important to log everything, however small or insignificant it might seem. It builds a picture”. “You also need to block his number”. Can you screenshot the texts?” That will assist the police?”
“Yes I have sent over numerous screenshots. I have sent them all to the police”.
“There is an app you can put on your phone. It’s called Hollieguard. That will help others know if you are in danger.”
“Thank you Pat. I will do that”.
“Try to look forward”. It’s important to keep positive”.
“I just want it to stop”. I cannot believe the drip drip effect filling my life. I have to lock my car doors now, everywhere I go. I am always looking over my shoulder when I am out. I think about my safety all the time”.
“You are doing all the right things Aurelia”.
“Thanks Pat for all your support”.
The messages ring in my ears like text bullets firing at me. “I hate the silence”. “Why will you not speak to me?” “Please, I love you”. Relentless.
My life was well ordered and successful. A senior, well respected social worker. I enjoyed helping others. I wanted to help you and I felt that I could.
You told me you were lonely in your marriage. You asked if I was lonely. You asked if I was hungry and told me you knew I hadn’t had lunch. You guessed I didn’t eat properly and realised I didn’t look after myself very well. I was amazed at how you noticed the small things that no one else seemed to. You bought me lunch and listened and for the first time in a long long time I felt heard and seen and understood. I was starving-starving for attention and I had no idea. I had been so invisible, busy in my career. We spoke of our vulnerabilities; I felt you understood me.
I watch lights dancing wildly on the tree. Christmas is nearing. Last Christmas it seemed like the lights had been switched on and illuminations sparkled across my heart. Lunch, coffees, lattes to be precise or tomatoes as you always called them, time spent with you and your wife. My trust growing like a tiered wedding cake-a soft sponge layer at first, then tier upon tier. Until I went away.
The new job in London was a huge distance. It took hours on the motorway and I stayed in a hotel.
The calls were every morning and evening at first-I felt cared for, heard, supported and no longer alone.
Dinners at your house, dinners at my house. I loved you, I loved your wife. But not in that way-not the way you wanted me to. It was a beautiful sunny day when you told me. I knew we had all grown close and I had just a tad of confusion in what I felt-the magnetism of your personality was compelling. But my moral compass was too strong-I knew right from wrong. Temptation is not sin.
“I know you have feelings for me, but nothing is going to happen”.
But that was a smokescreen. The fire of desire. I struggled with feelings, because I was oh so aware that temptation can be sin. If you think it, isn’t it just the same as acting upon it? Isn’t that what Jesus said? Temptation taunts and grimaces and entices.
But I stood my ground. Not perfectly, I admit. But you had groomed me well. I was lonely, I was vulnerable, I was alone. And you seemed so adept-I think you had done this before.
And then I think I realised I was trapped. I was always in contact-you would call whenever you liked. And come on-I always answered. You messengered me all the time-at night, in the morning. I should have questioned it, but I did not. Slowly the water began to boil and like a lobster in a pot I started to feel the heat rising around me.
And then the odd behaviour began-you started to pull my friends in-helping them, drawing them into to the skeins of the web you had woven around my life. Dinners with friends, photos with friends; every web you could weave you skilfully wove. So then I was encased in your silky skeins.
The moment of truth-when my friend told me you had sent her a sexual message. I suddenly knew with a ferocity that burned-you were not the sweet kind benefactor I had grown to love. You were in fact a sexual predator, preying upon women’s vulnerabilities. But now I know that I was mistaken-you were simply trying to make me jealous. The obsession was in place. And in retrospect I wanted it.
I have been told that it wasn’t my fault, but deep, deep down I wonder-was it? Did I seek to distroy your marrij as you say? Am I a Jezebel? Somehow I don’t think so. Your script is not my script.
So where do we go from here? How can I make this stop? Do I even want it to stop? Maybe yes, maybe no. I miss you so much-that is the hardest thing to admit-I truly miss you. Or I miss the version of yourself you sold me. And yes I did love you. I hope it was the right way. I chose to walk away and that is how I tried so hard to save, not wreck your marriage.
19th December 2019
Fire danger warnings scream out. Catastrophic weather-what does that mean-how can people survive?
The NSW Government has declared a State of Emergency from this morning, lasting for a period of seven days, ahead of worsening fire conditions predicted for this week.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has accepted the advice of Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons to declare a State of Emergency under Section 33 of the State of Emergency and Rescue Management Act.
The declaration enables the RFS Commissioner to exercise extraordinary powers to protect life and property.
“Declaring this State of Emergency is vital to the safety of communities in NSW as we face the most devastating bushfire season in living memory having lost six lives and almost 800 homes destroyed,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“These declarations are not taken lightly. This is the second State of Emergency this season following the declaration made on 11 November, also for a period of seven days.”
“It will ensure once again that our State is best placed to respond to the predicted fire conditions.”
A State of Emergency declaration enables extraordinary powers to be exercised by the RFS Commissioner. These include the power to:
- Direct any Government agency to conduct or refrain from conducting its functions;
- Control and coordinate the allocation of Government resources;
- Evacuate people from property within the declared area;
- Close roads and thoroughfares to traffic;
- Pull down or shore up infrastructure at risk of collapse;
- Order the shutdown of essential utilities in the declared area including electricity, gas, oil, water; and
- Enter or take possession of property in the course of the emergency response.
Four emergency level fires burning across South Australia
By Kate Kachor 20 Dec 2019 17:44
A fourth emergency bushfire warning has been issued for a fire burning on the outskirts of Adelaide.
One person is dead and another is missing as 70 blazes rage across the state on its hottest day in more than 130 years.
The fires burning at Maitland on the Yorke Peninsula and Menzies on Kangaroo Island are at emergency level.
The fire burning at Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills and Port Wakefield Road at Virginia.
Children left in cars as Victoria records hottest day ever
By Kate Kachor20 Dec 2019 19:45
A child has been taken to hospital after being left in a car on the hottest day in Victoria in more than a century.
Ambulance Victoria responded to five reports of children being locked in vehicles today, all in the state's metropolitan area.
One pre-school aged child was taken to hospital this afternoon after being left in a hot car in Ringwood about 2.30pm.
Two children were also found in a car with the engine running and air conditioner on in the supermarket car park in Moorabbin at about 3.30pm.
Ambulance Victoria says there has been a slight increase in Triple Zero calls across Victoria today, due in part to the heatwave.
Bureau of Meteorology in Victoria reported a maximum temp of 47.9°C at Horsham and Hopetoun today, making it the hottest December day on record for the state.
This exceeds the previous record of 46.6°C at Robinvale on 31 December back in 1976.
It is almost Christmas and Armageddon is here. How do we celebrate as everything is burning?
Bushfire crisis: Millions brace for 'catastrophic' weekend with warnings across NSW, South Australia, Victoria
By Kieran Campbell
5:41am Dec 21, 2019
More homes in NSW are under threat today as catastrophic fire danger once again hits the state, with hot, gusty winds and high temperatures taking hold.
Travellers have been advised to delay their Christmas getaways until at least Sunday, with police and the Rural Fire Service warning people not to put themselves in harm's way.
The Greater Sydney, Illawarra-Shoalhaven and southern ranges regions face catastrophic danger with high temperatures into the mid-40s expected.
The Greater Hunter and central ranges will experience extreme fire danger.
Fire is engulfing Australia now. Firefighters have been treated for trauma having heard the squeals and screams and shrieks of the dying animals. The deathly chorus of pain at its most extreme. Two firefighters have lost their lives now. Rip Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer, who were killed when their firetruck rolled on Thursday.
The Bureau of Meteorology said hot air will move eastwards and gusty northwest winds will present "very dangerous and challenging fire conditions".
Almost 100 firebugs have deliberately started blazes across Queensland that have destroyed homes and consumed thousands of hectares of bushland.
Some 65 fires continue to burn across the state on Friday, jumping from 55 reported yesterday, as the fire threat deepens heading into the weekend.
As firefighters remain on high alert, police revealed 103 of the destructive fires that have lashed Queensland since September were deliberately lit.
Figures obtained by AAP reveal 98 people - 31 adults and 67 juveniles - have been dealt with by Queensland police for deliberately setting fire
The Department of Metereology New South Wales December 21st 2019
Bushfire Smoke is affecting large parts of central and eastern NSW. On-shore winds moved the thickest smoke further inland from Sydney coast, Smoke can be seen and felt when flying over the Tasman Sea.
December 23 2019
Total area burned in NSW reaches 3.41m hectares in 'unprecedented' season
The NSW Rural Fire Service says the scale of the bushfires is “unprecedented” for this point in the season.
The total area burned in NSW has reached 3.41m hectares, according to the RFS.
“To put it in perspective, in the past few years we have had a total area burned for the whole season of about 280,000 ha,” RFS spokeswoman Angela Burford said. “This year we’re at 3.41m and we are only halfway through the season.”
The total number of houses destroyed currently sits at 829, but damage assessments of areas affected by the catastrophic conditions on Saturday are still underway. Burford said that number could increase by “up to 100”.
It is almost Christmas and Armageddon is here. How do we celebrate as everything is burning?
New Year’s eve 2019 30/12
An email today informing me there are new tenants in my flat. How does it feel to be stalked out of your own life? I will not let you win. I will reframe this into a new future. You will not burn down my life. I will phoenix myself from the flames and rise up.
But it isn’t quite as easy as it sounds
Another email. Demanding she vacate the property. Where is the compassion? She pays $250 to cut short her holiday. You win again she thinks. Just when I thought I was completely away, here you are blowing your fiery breath onto my holiday freedom. You are fire, you are a bushfire. Everywhere I go your flamethrowing follows.
Pain has been my pathway for a while now. I need a release. Words woosh inside my brain. PTSD spiralling out of control. Where do I go with this?
I start to write
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That was quite something, Hope. Firstly, you bring home the actual devastation of those fires to normal casual observers from afar. Perhaps make 'public burnings' of fire bugs. Based on the French revolution guillotine watches, you might make it a tourist highlight. You also convey the anguish of experiencing a really dedicated stalker very well. Rather like the fires, very difficult to get away from.
Thank you Len for your very helpful comments. I will consider your suggestion too! I wanted to draw a parallel between stalking and fire, as stalkers burn down people's lives.