Not a photo of Mallacoota last night but another beach in NSW. Mallacoota was like Hell described in some two thousand year old book that we are supposed to live our lives by in this age.
The people in Mallacoota were told to go to the beach and when the siren went off, go in the water with their bodies against the breakwater to stop the radiant heat from the flames burning them. The small boat with two boys and their mother on the water went around the world on the front of newspapers and television screens.
I could only imagine what it was like. What would I do? I don't drive, it was so dark from the smoke no-one could see. All I would do was grab a woollen blanket, thick shoes, put the cat in his basket and load water for us both on my walker and try for the beach. I'd would have hoped not to hear that siren, not to have to try and stand in water holding a terrified cat. But watching people help each other and a ring of firefighters holding back flames, I cried, sitting in my chair away from that hell.
Most of you know I had a boy who died. All he ever wanted to be was a forest ranger, work in the bush, join the CFA, he was one with nature. But last night I was almost glad he wasn't here because he would have been there, holding a hose but also saving every animal that came his way. I would have been looking for him in the smoke hoping for just a glimpse that he was still okay. I might even have seen him helping a lady with an old walker and carrying a fat white cat.
In all the years I don't think I cried as much for him as I did last night. The cat and I just sitting together.