Burnt lands, December 29, 2016

Around the middle of December fires broke out on the south end and rapidly spread to burn 150 hectares of the island. Rural fire brigades and helicopters were unanimously praised for the work they did. As one person quipped, when asked whether the blazes were contained: "Of course, it is an island!" Containment is inevitable. The edge is the measure of all things.

Later that month, I sent this email out to our Mudliners:

As you probably know, Canaipa Island has recently experienced a wild and hungry period of fires, that spread through the southern part of the island toward the end of last week. In some places, the ground is still smouldering, and the ash is still fresh and aromatic...I have taken my bike around these charred tracts of the landscape, and could not help but be awed by the strange, savage beauty, where all difference in the land is reduced to blackness, and vegetation, like something from a Peter Booth painting, jabs up from the ground like curved sabres. And now, already, the open throats of banksia pods, having coughed up their seeds, gape golden against this blackness. We rode our bikes down to the water's edge on the far southern end, where the fire stopped, so this charred bushland meets the mangrove shore, which is a sight to behold!