This is the view from my front window. usually there are hills, then distant mountains. This week we can see as far as the next block..
Alright, maybe it wasn't that bad, but a good, therapeutic whinge never hurt anyone. This week has been defined by smoke. A pall of it hangs over the state. 80 bushfires around Tasmania, mostly far out in the bush away from property and people, but hundreds of thousands of acres have burned, and the smoke shrouds the sun, which casts an eerie light, and we are breathing smoke, peering through smoke to drive, all our washing smells like smoke, and all of our houses, because you can't keep the windows closed forever. It is hot and dry, hotter and dryer than it has ever been, and it feels like we are living in the apocalypse. If there are zombies out there, we would never know, because they could sneak up under cover of the smoke screen and we would never see them..
Tasmanian dams are down to record lows all over the state and water restrictions have begun. Driving through farm country is so sad, because there is no grass. I don't know what the animals are eating. I mowed the 'lawn' the other day, and was enveloped in a cloud of dust because the 'lawn' now consists of bare dirt with a patchy dead grass thatch covering and an occasional persistent weed. This is all something I might expect were I living on the edge of the outback, eking out a living on marginal desert farmland, but I moved to Tasmania for the green and the rain and the pretty roses. This year, the mainland summer moved south. Ugh.
Living in the heat and the persistent smoke haze has made me rather depressed about the weather of the future. I told my children I was so very sorry that my generation had finished off the job of ruining the planet for them. No wonder Chinese tourists are so excited to come to Australia and see blue skies. They live in this kind of smog all the time, man-made, from the factories that churn out our 'stuff'. This just makes me so much more determined not to buy more stuff, because why should our need for cheap, pretty baubles mean that a very large slice of the world's population doesn't get to see the blue sky on a daily basis?
When I haven't been moping around suffering from SAD (Smoke Affective Disorder) or praying for rain, I have been assisting The Girl in the enormous task of packing up her entire life into cardboard cartons to send her off to university in a city far away from me. This has been sad and hilarious at once. The Girl has kept every piece of paper she ever wrote on since she learned to write at the age of four. Also every autumn leaf, feather, sewing and art project has been treasured. While I was busy filling the recycling bin she was reading me snippets from the dictionary of the new language she invented, age nine. There were only four words filed under 'N', one of which was the word for niche/alcove. Because that is one of the first words you would need to include in a new language..
So, all her things are donated, recycled, thrown away, or fitted into six cardboard cartons and two suitcases. I am very proud of her. It is hard to whittle away all those concrete reminders of her past. But today we had a party for her, and she was laughing away at all the memories she shares with one of her best buddies who has shared every life experience with her since they were two years old. The memories are all there in their heads and hearts, and can never be burnt up, flooded out, or eaten up by moth or rust..
It is rather melancholy imagining life here without her, as we count the days she has left with us. But she is heading to an exciting new life and is happy, so we will be happy too. We WILL be happy..
Friday morning I woke up and decided my house is too big, and I want to move. In a couple of weeks we will wake up and find ourselves as a family of three rattling around like peas in a giant house with five bedrooms, two living areas and a study. So I now I have another large logistical problem to obsess about. Because, why not? I accidentally got onto the internet and found a very tiny house which I am rather drawn to and the wee girls absolutely adore.. oops..