This isn’t the post I thought I’d write but sometimes things go bump …. or whirr, or flash, or rumble ….. in the night.
I was intending to write my first blog post in AGES today and had a topic in mind. But….. an extraordinary thing happened to me in the early hours of the morning. It left me feeling really quite rattled and I felt compelled to write about it. In fact, at 5.30am when I still couldn’t sleep, I shared some words on facebook in the hope that it would help settle me, it did…. which is nice. They elicited some nice feedback from good friends, much appreciated at times when de-rattling is required.
Words are good like that sometimes aren’t they – writing them down helps morph our worries from formless thinkings to tangible, clarifying statements so we can move past times of discomfort, sometimes even learning something in the process.
So, onwards with the story.
Today I woke up thinking it was morning, given I could see light coming in atop the curtains. Alas not, 5 fire trucks were outside, the house 4 doors down was on fire.
We went and hung out with the neighbours on the pavement for a bit. I felt sad that I don’t really know them. Two of them owned the house next door to the main firey house, the fire had spread to their roof and was making its way through the back. They didn’t know when they’d be allowed back in, doubtful as to if it would be liveable for some time. Their house is the one I love in our street because it has a little frangipani tree in the garden, a rare thing in Melbourne town and my favouritist flower of all time.
It’s a job to know what to say when you’re speaking to people you’ve only said hello to once before, whose house is on fire and you’re watching the smoke billowing out of their roof. Our previous communication had been much more genial and frangipani related.
Everyone was safe, everyone got out. I wanted to hold everyone’s hand and give them a little squeeze and wrap them in blankets but they may well have thought me a little nuts should I have done so. I did ask if I could do anything, if there was anything they needed, offered brandy and coats. There were other neighbours there that knew them better.
Sometimes there is just nothing you can do.
I tried to get back to sleep with all the fire trucks still there, lights flashing, engines whirring, firemen shouting instructions. I love firemen.
Two quite funny things happened amidst the not funny things.
No. 1. First light this morning I went out to get a look in daylight and chatted to a nice firemen and thanked him and all firemen everywhere for their fabulousness. A far too sprightly women appeared with too much make up on and in a persuasive manner tried to get me to talk to her about the happenings whilst a man appeared with a large TV type camera. I scuttled away quickly, wrapped in my blanket, with very bad morning hair and wearing pyjama pants that have seen better days. It would not have been a good look on morning tele. I also had nothing informative or newsworthy to tell her. It’s somebody else’s story.
No. 2. Last night as we were going back inside, just after I’d thanked another fireman for coming to save everyone (I love firemen, as you may have already gathered) and as I was bumbling up the path, my aforementioned sadly old pyjama pants slipped down and I may have mooned the firemen just a little. Ooooopps.
Wishing you the safest and sweetest of sleeps tonight.
ps. To illustrate this fiery tale I decided to do a little interweb search, I found this amazingly beautiful embroidery and discovered the work of textile artist Iviva Olenick. She even has embroideries that look like Softie Portraits a la Reginald. Amazing.
h a p p y c o i n c i d e n c e ?
We had a similar thing happen to us almost exactly 12 months ago…it is a very unnerving experience seeing someone else’s property (in our case their garage and upstairs office) go up in flames. It is all kinds of dramatic and we were rocked for days (interestingly as long as it took for the street to stop smelling like burnt car!), thinking through the what-ifs and the ‘what would we do’ scenarios…
I’m glad your neighbours are all OK, because after all it’s just stuff – easily replaceable – and who knows, perhaps you will now find yourself knowing your neighbours a little better – we sure do!
Hi Sally! Unnerving yes! I wanted to take them rescue remedy and make them stress herbal tonics but of course that’s my thing not necessarily their thing. I like to be a helper so when I’m in a situation where I can’t help it doesn’t feel nice. I bumped into neighbour guy today, they’d let them in to collect precious things but it won’t be liveable for weeks. He was remarkably accepting and strong and just wanted to get on with fixing it up again. People are amazing. A chilling reminder about the fragility of life, but in this instance very thankfully, as you rightly say, it was just stuff.
Sending hugs for what you saw and for what they went through. Love the artwork you found – so powerful.
Hi Kathryn! Lovely to hear from you. How’s everything going? Thanks muchly for your kind words. Sue
Hi, Sue! My very earliest memory (from about age 3) is of a house diagonally opposite ours burning down, and how frightening it felt. You are a very nurturing person, and I’m sure the neighbours appreciated your presence. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thanks Julie! It is frightening isn’t it. I was awake for 20 hours straight yesterday and still feel a little bit ‘odd’ but grateful, very grateful. and a bit more appreciative I think. x