It feels very strange in Melbourne today. It’s drizzly and dark, and the weather is cold enough to require central heating and winter pyjamas, but the air is absolutely permeated by smoke – from the Tasmanian fires, we are told, though it could just as easily have been from the ones in Gippsland or in northern Victoria or on Kangaroo island. There are fires in every direction, and yet we are safe, and can go about our lives as normal, except for the stinging in our eyes and throats, the tightness in our chests from the smoke.
I almost welcome it, though. We’ve had several days of truly glorious weather over the last week (not consecutively, and none of them like any of the others of course – this is Melbourne we’re talking about), and it has felt so surreal to be able to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather when all this devastation exists just a few hundred kilometres away. (Clearly, the Catholic upbringing which I did not have has still managed to give me an over-inflated sense of guilt about ever enjoying myself).
Anyway. I’ve been meaning to write some letters to politicians, but I’ve been running into difficulties, because my letters to Morrison keep on coming out as ‘Dear Prime Minister, Please get f*cked. Sincerely, Catherine,’ or sometimes ‘Dear Prime Minister, What the f*ck is wrong with you?’, which are certainly sincere statements of personal belief, but perhaps not very productive.
I did finally manage to write something slightly more useful, however, and since I thought that some of you might be sharing my difficulties, I figured I’d follow tradition and put my letters here for anyone to use as a starting point for their own missives. Per my usual disclaimer, they are far from perfect. And per my usual encouragement, they don’t need to be. Don’t be crippled by the need to make everything exactly right. The important thing is to send *something*.
Please note, incidentally, that I’ve seen a few people saying that emails sent through the form on the Prime Minister’s website are not being read, and that it is difficult to get through to him on the phone. I don’t know if this is true or not, but just in case, let’s break out the envelopes and stamps for this one.
If you can’t bear to write to politicians right now – and honestly, I can’t blame you for that – I’ve also provided some more links at the bottom to charities and other organisations you might want to support.
And of course, wherever you are, I hope you are staying safe from the fires and the smoke, that your loved ones are also safe, and that you have the things you need.