Bush Fires and Sapphire

So it’s bush fire season here at the moment. Wherever you go, wherever you are, the wind always carries the distant sound and smell of a fire burning somewhere else. Sometimes close, sometimes far. Bush-veld fires. They smell…. hot, tired, thirsty, beautiful, like sapphire, but tortured almost.

I’ll see one at this time of the year almost every night. I am grateful for: the view I have from my house. My parents cleverly purchased a property situated on top of a hill that now looks over two other suburbs that were once previously veld areas. Like, two years ago. Development is quite rapid here. They were actually the same age as I am now upon this purchase. I hope I am making similar wise purchases at this point in my life. Although, I don’t think my recent purchase of an ornamental watering can quite compares. We’ll move on.

And the darkness of the night is lit up by this intense, hot, crackling, rust colour. Can a colour have a sound to accompany it? I’ve never seen that colour anywhere else besides a bush fire. And it’s not just the colour of the actual fire, and flames, but of the smoke that rises above it, illuminated by the force below… It’s as if, a phoenix might rise up out of the flames at any moment. Aside from the romantics of this whole story it’s actually quite serious. Our house has almost burnt down every year since well, I was born, because of these bushfires; which my parents have never really complained/worried about more so of the fact of the increase of rats found around the yard, obviously running up from the veld below in search of well, survival, in our garden. Shame. But it was rather comical this time last year when the phone rang. ‘Simone, the fire is about a metre away from the fence and we’re trying to keep it away from the gazebo and the fire engines haven’t arrived yet and there are chickens running everywhere.’ I still don’t quite know what my mother expected me to do sitting in my office 40kms away, nor do I know where the chickens came from,  we’ve never had chickens. Live chickens, I saw some frozen ones in the freezer last night. I think we’re actually having roast chicken for dinner tonight. This is completed unrelated to this story though… Although, I can see that connection: chickens running from a fire/roast chicken. That could’ve been quite funny if I’d developed it a bit more.

Anyway, from afar and when your life isn’t at stake, bush-veld fires are really quite beautiful and mesmerising. I wanted to take a picture of the one last night but my sister has the camera. General Rule: if anything of mine is missing, my sister has it.


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