Tuesday 10 February 2009

Elemental Forces - Earth, Wind, Fire and Water


We remember the massive Asian Tsunami which slammed into the Thai, Indonesian and Sri Lankan coastlines on Boxing Day in 2004 wreaking havoc beyond imagining. Nor will we ever forget the cruel devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, or the massive destruction and loss of life after the earthquake in Sichuan province, China in May 2008.

Now Australia has had to deal with the brutal horror of raging fires. In the face of such a monumental tragedy, it is hard to find ways in which to express comfort and compassion for those who have experienced such inestimable levels of grief, loss, fear and devastation. Nothing we say can alleviate even a fraction of the terrible pain and horror suffered by so many during those catastrophic fires in Victoria. The flames tore their relentless way through the lives of so many, leaving in their fiery wake the smouldering ashes of memory.

So instead of words of condolence, I will reach out my hands to hold theirs and grieve alongside them for the loss of their loved ones, their homes and environment. And maybe just whisper very softy that there will be renewal, just as there has been since time immemorial.

Paradise Seed

Where is the seed

Of the tree felled,

Of the forest burned,

Or living root

Under ash and cinders?

From woven bud

What last leaf strives

Into life, last

Shrivelled flower?

Is fruit of our harvest,

Our long labour

Dust to the core?

To what far, fair land

Borne on the wind

What winged seed

Or spark of fire

From holocaust

To kindle a star?

~ Kathleen Raine

Australia 2005


Jinksy said...

Beautifully expressed on behlf of us all.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post and so eloquently put. Thank you.

Devon Coles said...

What a wonderful blog you have here. Both words and pictures inspire a good amount of mind cudgelling - not a popcorn read, that's for sure!

Irene said...

Amen, Tessa.

Angela said...

We once had an exchange boy from Melbourne at our children`s school. He was a delightful boy. It is even worse to hear of such a devastation when you worry about someone you know. I saw the flames on TV tonight, and the burnt-down houses. I wish you are right, that soon the healing will begin.

Renee said...

Beautiful Tessa, you touched me right to the core.

Love Renee

Linda Sue said...

What Renee said...and now I have blurred vision and a lump in my throat.

Lori ann said...

I'm reaching out my hand too. If only our wishes could come true...
beautifully said, sweet thoughtful Tessa
xx lori

Sarah Laurence said...

The worst thing about the Australian bushfire, which distinguishes it from the three natural disasters you mentioned, was that it was set by arsonists. It’s more like murder than mother nature. Beautiful, beautiful poem and image of the child.

Tessa said...

Yes, Sarah, the thought that some of the devastation was man-made is almost incomprehensible. It is indeed murder...mass murder.

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you so much for this - the post, but also for reaching out to grieve with those who are suffering. When I've been in pain, knowing that others are extending loving kindness in my direction really has helped.

I just sent a donation to help save the koalas. A small gesture, but better than nothing.

Thanks again.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with Jinksy -you have expressed so clearly what so many of us feel.
A wonderful poem too.

Sally Townsend said...

As everyone else has expressed beautifully and eloquently written. xx

Renee said...

Tessa I saw your painting on every picture tells a story (I think) love it. I told her you are one of my very favourite people.



Zion Girl said...

It is simply unimaginable. I cannot even grasp the thought of ones mind to have done such a thing. Yes... plain and simple it is horrific.

Maithri said...

For all the love you give,
For all the love you live,

I thank you dear friend,


Hana Njau-Okolo said...


Mama Shujaa.

The W.O.W. factor! said...

Tessa, thank you for sharing what so many are feeling. The devastation in each event is something I cannot comprehend having to witness...and it hurts to only be able to share their sorrows...from a different shore.
Wonderful pictures you chose to put with this..
they say so much!

Anonymous said...

The bush /does/ renew. In fact, some plants need fires (although not too hot), for their seeds to be released onto the fertile ash.

But the lives that are lost and broken, and the others who donate with one hand but want to kill with the other...

Perhaps the most beautiful gesture of a nation was from Papua New Guinea, beset by many of its own problems, poor, itself the recipient of much foreign aid... yet they gave $2 million dollars they probably cannot afford, to us, immediately.