Saturday, 7 February 2009


“Your own property is concerned when your neighbor's house is on fire.” - Horace

The heat has been stifling today, with Melbourne recording its hottest-ever February day, with the temperature in the city reaching 46 degrees Celsius at 2:27 pm. I was driving into the City at 4:30 pm and even with the air conditioning going at full blast, it was warm in the car. The City skyline was half-obscured by a beige pall of dust, and the hot wind lashed the trees mercilessly.

Fires are burning across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, with tens of thousands of fire fighters on stand-by across all three states. The fire in Bunyip State Park is within a few kilometres of major transmission lines that feed power to our city and we are wondering if we shall have electricity through the night. Meanwhile, many townships are being evacuated, some houses lost in the flames, others strangely spared…

A strange apocalyptic feeling as I was driving through the deserted streets with the dead leaves being whipped up by the wind, the dust laden air, the hazy atmosphere, the sickly yellow-brown light and the all-consuming heat. The music that came into mind was Verdi’s “Dies Irae” from his Requiem:

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla.

Day of wrath, day that
will dissolve the world into burning coals,
as David bore witness with the Sibyl…

A cool change was to come through this evening, but it fizzled with a few scattered drops of rain and with the temperature remaining at 30 degrees Celsius. Unless a stronger change comes through overnight, I doubt whether we shall have the cooler day predicted for tomorrow. I am looking out through my window at the moment and the wind has died down. The moon almost full is overhead and a strange smell of dust and heat makes this summer a terrible one.

Here is Karl Jenkins’ “Song of Tears”.

I hope you are having better luck with the weather in your part of the world.
Enjoy your weekend…

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