After another working trip out of town last week Maria and I decided to leave the kids at home and head up to the Yarra Valley for a night over the weekend. Saturday was clear and sunny. We meandered our way through the back roads between Yarra Glen and Healesville.
We drove with long periods of silence. The scars of Black Saturday are everywhere.
I have seen the after-effects of bush fires before. But the scale of this and the background knowledge of the fatal horror on the very roads on which we drove was poignant. As we browsed the shops the discussion was still about recovery. The newspapers are still peppered with references. Little known village names like Chum Creek are now legend.
But my lasting memory will be of a phenomena I’ve never seen before. Autumn colour was everywhere. Dazzling oranges and brazing reds were across vineyards and bordering roads at every turn. But we were struck by the green ‘fur.’
Actually, it is not fur, but from a distance that’s what it looks like. Charred trees … covered from base to branch tip with vibrant new green growth, as if being taken over by a parasitic creeper. I think I would have expected trees recovering from a bush fire to sprout new growth from their branches as in spring. Not so. I wondered what happens next.
Trauma rocks normality. I am not a psychologist but I imagine there are parallels in human life. Recovery from trauma probably looks very different than normal growth. When the ‘green shoots’ come, they likely do so in surprising places. I thought more …
Our world is in trauma now. The twin crises of environmental vulnerability and the financial crisis dishing out pain and inviting a new way of being. As in bushfire recovery, I wonder whether conventional cycles of recovery will fail, Rather we will see new growth sprouting from places we didn’t expect. If we are not attuned to the nature of the trauma, the fury ‘green growth’ could be mocked as try hard. Instead it could well be the signs of human resilience and creative hope.
I will have my eyes open for ‘fury green growth’ in the economy.