Sixteen and a half years ago I visited Australia and it so happens that I have seen with my own eyes the beautiful part of that country that is now burning.
I was there in August, 1992 which was a newsworthy time that sticks in the mind of many when I mention two things that happened while I was there. The first was "Squidgygate," where personal intimate recordings of Princess Diana, where she is called by a beau "Squidgy" were smeared all over the press. The recordings were made several years prior (by some innocent neighbors who just happened to pick up the cell phone signals, I mean, duh, yeah, right, just so happens) but interestingly they were released while I was in Australia. I had bought a platypus plush toy and thus named it Squidgy. To this day I wonder about people's cruelty to one another.
A few days after Squidgygate was announced Hurricane Andrew ripped into southern Florida in the USA. I watched grainy pictures of the news coverage as I was still in Australia, but about to leave. Hurricane Andrew remains one of the most destructive hurricanes in USA history.
My nature tour of Australia had taken me to Perth on the west coast and then Melbourne on the south. While in Melbourne we took a bus (coach) to visit Healesville Sanctuary, and tour the surrounding areas. I remember beautiful scenery of hills, meadows with well fed black Angus cattle, forests, a lovely bucolic scenery. At Healesville Sanctuary I was startled and cautious to encounter face to face an emu that had apparently escaped confinement. They can deliver quite a dangerous kick to the groin so I was justifiably cautious. Healesville was very nice with koala, kangaroos and wallabies all lolling around in ease and comfort. People on a small paddock near where I live now keep one or two emu among their goats. I understand that they are good to eat and have researched recipes.
If you look at Google maps, Australia, Healesville, you will see that it is just down the road from Maryville, one of the villages that has burned to the ground in the firestorm.
Another thing I recall of that day in the area is that I saw from the coach a huge double rainbow. I do believe that was my first clear sighting of a double rainbow, though I saw several at my previous home since then.
Being driven out of one's home and burned alive is a terrible, terrible thing.
It is even worse when the routine risks of nature, as fire most certainly is, is exacerbated by those with at least immaturity and at worse a murderous rage who set some of the fires to stoke more fear and destruction. I hope that all who are guilty are identified and prosecuted, and that all who suffer and mourn are comforted in the Lord.