I find myself intently following the news of the bushfires in Australia, especially Victoria. We lived in Melbourne for six years (on and off) when I was a child/teenager and I did my undergraduate degree at Melbourne University. There’s a part of me that feels very invested in what’s going on.
I recognise the names of the places they mention and find myself thinking, “I’ve been there.” Not the places that have been burned to the ground, but some of the places where the survivors and evacuees are being taken, I’ve been to those.
I remember one family holiday to Beechworth, a name that I’ve heard on the news and seen in the online newspapers. We stayed in a home stay house there that had this little tin annex out the back that was the bathroom. There was a sign hanging beside the toilet (I suppose on the assumption that more people would read it if it was there) that listed in great detail all the things you were supposed to do if there was a bushfire. At the time, I read it with a kind of morbid curiosity, but with no thought about ever needing to use the information it contained. I keep remembering that notice now and wondering if it is still there and if the person currently using the toilet thinks they might need to follow its advice.
People of Victoria, my thoughts are with you.