Friday, February 8, 2013


( *A fiction. )
A cicada's singing a twist of loud static in the shadow out under my window. Across the hill, lit by embers, a plume of billowing, licorice smoke tells me all has been erased. I wait, my fingers blackened, the window blown out by the heat.
This shadow, I, who has been thrust into the ruin of a sky, has crash-landed. It is a black day, and the broken branches crackle beneath my feet.
In this territory, mine for however long it takes for a fire to burn, I catch oncoming glimpses of green. Divesting themselves of the hold of the conflagration, the cicadas are still, done with their urgency.
The smog lifts off over us. Our bones and skin have been seared. There's only the night and there's only the sun.
A coolness squeezes under the branching heat. I stare out the blown window, not to nothingness, but to a movement come though from over the hills, asking me to wait and be still.


  1. Hello Faisal:
    We can only imagine the horror of being caught up in these forest fires which have raged throughout Australia and have obviously made a huge impact on the lives of so many and the Natural World.

    Your words and collages capture the mood of devastation which must surround these events so dramatically and powerfully.They do convey a great sense of fear and destruction, but also the great will to live. A perfect metaphor for life itself. Hope does spring eternal.

  2. Hello Jane and Lance,
    thank you for being receptive. I've not myself been in or near any fire. The threat of fire is real though, and I can't help but feel for those closer to it than I am.
    We've had some extensive fires this year, but nothing compared to what we had three years ago. Then, though I was nowhere near them, it was 46 degrees Celcius. I stood outside in an oven of heatwaves, watching enormous, fire-hot winds tear across my garden at 100 km per hour.
    It's a demoralizing thing, this heat. It's like the world is being pushed to its extremity.
    It's a strain for a gardener. I'm wondering if I'll be making gardens out of charcoal soon. Not really.

  3. Faisal, that was so moving, so beautifully capturing the fear and the beauty. Your photographs are a perfect match. I hope you never experience a fire but your post today shows you empathise so well with this terrible experience. Those 46C days are very demoralising as the garden shrivels but nature does repair itself, usually. And certainly the weeds in my garden have thrived!

    1. Thank you Carol. I'm not a big fan of the heat, to be honest. I've usually preferred the cold.
      Perhaps weed gardens will be the next big thing?!

  4. Dear Faisal,
    An interesting post. I like it! It evokes many different images. When we were last back in Melbourne we visited the sites of AGA's family's holiday home near Flowerdale. Everything was destroyed in the fires and yet those trees, still blackened, were surrounded by the green fuzz that is new growth.

    We suffer greatly in such 'disasters' but for nature it is part of the cycle of life. Even if all really does appear to be 'erased' as you write, it is in fact only a scrubbing, a cauterising, of the surface; and given time all will return to how it once was albeit cleaner, fresher.
    It is only the man-made world (and we who inhabit it) that is often permanently damaged.

    I see it is 'only' going to be 30 today.


    1. Hello Kirk,
      yes, that cycles underpin our lives is a reassurance that change brings new hope and vitality.
      It really is amazing how nature has developed strategies to overcome devastation.

  5. Faisal, You live in another world, here we have the sodden earth, mud and deluge. Waiting and being still runs counter to our modern minds, but it remains a wise and beautiful thing to do.

  6. I posted a comment yesterday, but it has disappeared... Amazing images which really conjure up the heat and the resilience of life there. Here we are soaked and the ground is sodden. To wait and be still is a wise and beautiful thing to do.

    1. Thank you Paul. Your soddenness can't be much fun either. I feel when there's (too much) friction, the best thing to do is step to one side.