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Published: December 20th 2020
Fires like the Apocalypse threatened my Aussie backyard from August 2019 to February 2020...the East Coast on fire like never before.
Over 18 million hectares were burnt in the Australian bushfire season 2019–2020...all states affected.
As of mid-January 2020 according to media reports, 5,900 buildings were destroyed including over 2,800 homes.
In addition to 33 human fatalities including 9 firefighters, conservative estimates, based on NSW and Victoria only, project losses of over one billion mammals, birds and reptiles combined. This excludes insects, the loss of which has been reported to be in the hundreds of billions...flora & fauna habitat scorched, killed and laid bare.
The Bureau of Meteorology noted in its January 2020 Statement that, ‘The extensive and long-lived fires appear to be the largest in scale in the modern record in New South Wales, while the total area burnt appears to be the largest in a single recorded fire season for eastern Australia’.
While the east coast burned, we waited on edge for the Gospers Mountain Fire to jump the Hawkesbury River and race up the gorges and gullies to threaten our home.
The die was caste but we were lucky...our number
did not come up.
Backing onto National Park in Sydney's North and Sydney's deepest Gorge 'tis a lottery that only time determines if we last.
The bushland behind our home had been bird, slither, insect Heaven the year before...during the fires the insects were nowhere to be seen.
Then the drought broke and in some areas floods eroded the bare scorched earth.
Kinda surreal to have years of drought then rain like it had been saving up for storm after storm...trees ripped out by ferocious winds or simply falling over as hard ground replaced by sodden...trees on power lines...days without power...two times for us to ensure the fun was shared around.
The drainage remediation area behind our place we call "the Resort"...after crack bang downpours spilling like Victoria Falls.
But while our backs were turned the city of Wuhan in China went into hard lockdown... 'cos a mystery virus had escaped in December and by February 2020 was causing concern.
On 27 February 2020 Australia declared it as a national pandemic and went into overdrive to restrict its spread....learning as we go...the Ruby Princess cruise ship disembarkation probably our
While our backs were turned
The Covid-19 Pandemic was coming
The World Health Organisation declaring a worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic on 11 March 2020 and ever since various parts of the World have been in lockdown.
Since that day to now we have worn masks whenever we go shopping and avoided public transport.
Because better to be safe than sorry.
Wearing a mask is not a political statement...for us it is a community commitment.
We do not want to infect others nor be infected by them.
But the daily news over the ensuing months indicating many in other countries do not think likewise and among them the virus rages, kills and rages some more.
It is now December 2020...NIL now in ICU or intensive care in Oz from Covid...will we remain so lucky?
As at 28 November 2020 in Australia we had been lucky...27,874 infection cases...25,384 recovered...907 deaths of which 819 were in Victoria.
Same day Worldwide 61.4M infection cases...39.3M recovered...1.44M deaths.
USA that day made up over 21 percent at 13M with over 18 percent of the deaths at 264K...setting new records for the 27th consecutive day.
In Oz we are lucky that our Federal and State Governments have been fighting the pandemic from non-partisan united fronts unimpeded by political bent...lucky the Aussie populous
have been prepared to do whatever to weather the pandemic storm...lucky the governments have provided economic support as businesses closed, jobs were lost and futures uncertain but optimism...never lost.
All Aussie states were on top of it then apathy on overseas arrival quarantines in August led to a massive infection surge in Melbourne, Victoria.
From a single-day peak of 725 cases in Victoria on the fifth day of the month, to a high of 6,768 active cases on the seventh...while the rest of Oz looked on in disbelief.
Kinda weird to hear that when our out of control sthn state of Victoria was having 700 new infections a day...so was the UK.
On 20 November 2020 Victoria after heavy lockdowns was having its 21st consecutive day of Nil new infection cases...430 active cases a month before but now only 1 remaining active case.
UK had scored over 63,000 new cases that day.
The USA insisting it remain on top had 186,972 new cases and 1,962 deaths that day...streets ahead of the rest of the world...setting new levels of familial despair.
Then the news USA had 4M new cases in November alone thrashing October's
record of 1.9M...av. 170,000 new cases per day. "
The land of the free"....NOW "the land under siege".
Hard not to think its not a leadership problem...or is it so many are arrogant they just don't care?
I think Donald Trump Jr expressed his father's 'up yours we don't care'
attitude best on 22 November 2020 when he advised he had been diagnosed positive with Covid-19: "I may have a couple of days solo time...and there are so many guns I can clean before that gets bored."
Or maybe Donald Trump's fantasy assertions "We are rounding the corner. We are doing much better than the rest of the World."
Or maybe Trump thinks all that matters is winning...if the World's highest number of Covid infections and deaths is winning!!!
If I shake my head in disbelief much harder it will fall off.
So I head into my Aussie backyard to forget the despair.
It took a while but our Aussie farmers are having bumper crops...and in our Aussie backyard...even echidnas and insects are coming back.
Rainbow Lorikeets dive bombing the much larger Sulphur-crested Cockatoos...butcher birds punctuating the screeching combatants with their ethereal song...Noisy Minors ganging up on Magpies, Birds of Prey and any other birds 'the backyard police' wanna chase away.
Shy King Parrots and Bronze Doves hovering...Kookaburras laughing to indicate more rain is not far off...Lyrebirds mimicing all & sundry as they
dance and root in the deep undergrowth.
But 'tis the call of the Eastern Whipbird that has my thrall today...bouncing in scrubby areas like the Blue Wren...really hard to focus on...nearly impossible to catch.
But today is different...I'm not good at being a statue but after 40 minutes it paid off.
I see a black dot on the end of a pencil thick twig...macro shows its a tiny black spider...expand and its like the deadly Sydney Funnel Web but its smaller than a tick.
Tiny pink bush flowers then yellows, purples & blues...an orange buzz in front of me landing on a leaf...gotta love macro...without it no way I'd see this critter in his black and orange suit with his serrated antennae waving...impossible with the naked eye.
A Dwarf Spider Flower catches my gaze...a gentle breeze catching it...holding my breath as it stops swaying for a second before shivering again.
My lens is pretty close and as if I am a peeping-tom...a tiny green spider jumps out and climbs the filament stem to get away.
But this dancer is not going away so it returns...climbing over the flower then slipping behind...me
Echidna...With a smile on its face
Echidna emerging from under a pile of fallen gum leaves
exclaiming...that satisfied smile...I wonder if I have found a new species...wouldn't it be cool if I could have a spider named after me...gotta love macro 'cos ya never know what you can find.
I walk further down the bush track.
A few weeks ago Denise & I saw an Echidna two days running but not since then...a sword grass stem shimmering...eyes focusing like the predator I have become.
I sight a few spines among the tall grass...oh so gentle as the echidna shuffles along...burrowing into a small rock cave...into the end of a log...under a deep pile of fallen gum leaves...emerging with its face covered with dirt...the smile that only a mouthful of ants can bring to the table.
It climbs over a fallen log as if it wants to rub my leg but recoils back as it hears my click...looking to return again then decides better.
If only I had seen the ant on the log I may have captured a tongue shooting out...opportunity lost forever no doubt.
I drink my fill and as the light fails I return home dreaming of returning the following day.
sun paints the sky yellow, orange, red, purple...dark clouds rolling in...a crack of lightning...a gust of wind.
Covid-19 may be sweeping the planet...but life goes on.
No matter the political landscapes...trade wars...whether the colour of our skin matters which of course it does...disputes leading to skirmishes then threats of war after war...social distancing or nought...no matter how we treat our fellow man...polluting and raping the planet...whatever us humans think or do we just carry on.
I kinda think in the long run no matter how we exercise our "superior species thinking"...the planet is heating up...Mother Nature's realm...extreme weather events now more often happening.
Humanity's sense of entitlement and lack of regard for others also heating up.
The invisible virus is affecting so many lives, employments and economies...another reminder that Mother Nature is still in charge.
The birds settle as darkness descends...but not all as the nocturnals stir from their slumber emerging into the night.
Possums climbing...owls hooting...cicadas drumming...a cat fight here...walking into a spider web there.
So as 2020 closes...Oz now with NIL community Covid infections...but its dangerous elsewhere...when can we venture overseas again...who can tell?
Sydney Covid City 28.3.2020
Never seen the streets so empty
year bites the dust...time to reflect on a year like no other...time to pen my message with optimism for next year:
Denise & I wish you an enjoyable Christmas and a prosperous New Year. “In this Covid Year ‘tis better to be safe than sorry To wear a mask is not a political statement but a community commitment. We can hardly wait to emerge from just drifting along Where the remote is our road the exotic our pleasure.”
We wish you well for 2021.
Relax & Enjoy,
P.S. Today 20 December 2020 Victoria has its 51st day of Nil Community Transmission and other States even longer.
But Sydney has had the most returning citizens...13 international flight crew members fined for breaking quarantine rules & 1 USA infected arrival last week.
The Northern Beaches District of Sydney is in lockdown from yesterday with 41 infections and the State borders are closing to NSW.
So a couple of weeks of relaxation and the virus is back again.
We know it only takes one or two
Sydney Covid City 28.3.2020
Never seen the streets so empty
and like a wildfire the virus is off again.
That kills our Queensland holiday at my sister's beachfront home...time to mask up again and stay home as much as possible...don't know if Christmas with Denise's family 150kms north will be on or not!!!
We know what happened when Victoria's quarantine for return citizens went wrong...we can't let it happen in New South Wales or any other State of Australia.
30 new infected last night in the Avalon Beach cluster...our Covid tracing teams have already traced the movements of 28 and those with any potential are being tested.
Our tracing procedures are beyond incredibly effective.
Oz medicine has never let the virus get out of control which together with non-partisan governments...cooperation and hard State borders is the secret of our success.
And now China is punishing us with trade tariffs..."the gum on the boot of the USA that needs to be wiped off"
they call us. 2020...What a year...fires, floods, pandemic and now trade wars...how do we get out of this one?????
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