Driving through the smoke haze in Melbourne on our way to Icy Creek this morning, exactly one week after hell descended on our corner of the world, it was obvious that the potential hazards of this most tragic of summers aren’t completely behind us yet. And then no sooner had we turned off the highway at the Robin Hood exit, we could see the Bunyip fires still burning. It’s only thanks to the superhuman efforts of the CFA that the situation is under control, for now at least.
Still. the weather forecast is reassuring in a qualified way: there’s no sign of the deluge we so badly need, but there are at least a few showers promised in the forecast period, and nothing over 30 (that’s 86F for our North American friends) in the week ahead.
The whole farm is covered in a thin layer of ash, as is the house, and much of the area looks predictably parched. But remarkably, the orchard trees are mostly holding up well, and there are still tinges of green in the freshly mowed paddocks. There’s fruit on the blackcurrant bushes, nectarines under the net waiting to be picked, ripening tomatoes bulging on their trusses, and the chestnuts are building up their prickly armoury.
It’s hard to feel anything but lucky.