No Escaping the Smoke

I’m out of the city and enjoying the beautiful town of Mudgee this weekend.

Alas, there was no clean, country air this morning. The fire that lurks to the north-west of Sydney is the same fire that maintains a holding pattern to the south-east of Mudgee. It’s that big! The air was smoke filled, the smell of ash pervasive, the sun surrounded by an angry red glow.

The countryside has never looked so thirsty. We travelled from Lithgow to Orange to Wellington to Mudgee. The land was brown, red or dirty white. Not green.

Dams have dried up.

Everything is dead.

These scenes are repeated across NSW.

Gum trees rise above the carnage, their leaves still miraculously green.

But for how long?

I came to Mudgee to see my poems, “Sweet Walls” and “The Rainbow”, displayed at the Mudgee Valley Writers’ exhibition of their “More than Words” competition. An unexpected surprise was to receive one of ten recipients of the Viewer’s Choice Award. It was a lovely afternoon, complete with some local poets reciting their poetry.

I don’t realise how much I miss the country until return. So, tonight, I’ll kick back with my sister’s family and enjoy the solitude of their rural property.

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