Everydayville is a normal town, a pretty good place to live.
Everyday, parents drop their kids at wooden school buildings amongst the eucalypts, then go about their lives. Off to work. Shopping. Checking Facebook. Planning holidays.
At night, when darkness covers everything, the windows of their homes glow blue with TV light, and kangaroos sneak round to graze in yards, as they have done since the drought began.
Everydayville is a normal place, or so it seems.
But it’s a place of restless sleep where townsfolk, in their air-conditioned homes toss and turn and wake up with anxiety. As if some deep unease has entered dreams while outside, in fatal heat, flying foxes lie in heaps where they’ve dropped lifeless from the trees.
Yet, were we to drive beyond the township’s boundaries, we’d see a different scene: muscle-tired firefighters sitting next to the trucks where they’ve been working hard to stop the fire heading Everydayville’s way.
And when they get a moment’s rest, they phone the townsfolk. They call their neighbours, but Everydayville is deaf to them.
‘The fire is terrible” they say. “Really awful” they say. “Sorry…have to dash” say citizens. ‘‘We’re planning our next holiday”
But the fire is coming. The fire is growing. The fire is coming Everydayville’s way.
And everyday, parents drop their kids at wooden school buildings set amid the eucalypts then go to work. Shopping. Checking Facebook. Planning renovations.
And every morning, parents drop their children at school amongst the tinder-dry eucalypts, but the fire is coming, the fire is coming Everydayville’s way.
How do we write our collective story, facing climate breakdown and ecosystem collapse?
Even though the Northern Rivers birthed the story of Linkmore (please read it in conjunction with this tale of Everydayville), it seems we have, since then, been doing Everydayville, as have the majority of people in our country. Will Everydayville citizens join up with others in collective action? What stories will they tell their children? What actions will they show their families? Will they build the connective tissue that prevents harm, and also heals us from catastrophe?
This blog was written before the terrible infernos of 2019/2020, when fires raged in eastern Australia, fuelled by extreme heat, drought and climate vandalism. Image shows fire in rainforest understory in my district. Photo: A Hart.