I was on my walk this morning –
Sunday mornings, I always walk. Today it was a 10km walk and by mid morning it was already hot – 38C, or 100F.
And it was smokey, from the bushfires.
The bushfires haven’t affected my town directly. I live in Mudgee, a beautiful wine-making town about 4hrs drive north-west of Sydney. The bushfires have come close to the town, and the smoke has at times been dense.
Anyway, I was about halfway into my walk, heading out through the vineyards, when a truck pulled up beside me.
A bloke leaned out of the cab of his battered 4WD, and he held up a face-mask. The kind you get from pharmacies to put over your mouth and nose to filter out the bad air.
Mate, you need this?
I didn’t know this bloke.
He didn’t know me.
He was a stranger.
He looked like a bushie – someone who lives and works in the bush.
I was knocked out by this random act of kindness.
I said No thanks, I’m fine – and he nodded and drove on.
And I kept walking.
It was a small gesture, I know, but it meant a lot to me. And I began to think of all the random acts of kindness that are happening around our country at the moment, in the face of these devastating bushfires.
The firies, as the firefighters here are called, are largely volunteers – and they are literally putting their lives at risk each day to save lives and property. And they ask for nothing in return – not even recognition or praise.
Jennifer and I know one of these firies – someone close to us – and we have such admiration for the job he, and other members of the Rural Fire Service, are doing.
They would rail at being called heroes.
They just do what they’ve been trained to do – deal with firestorms.
When things get tough, the true character of a person comes to the fore.
And you see the world more clearly.
What’s dear to you.
And what’s unimportant.
What really doesn’t matter.
So much really doesn’t matter, does it, when it comes down to it.
Things don’t matter.
Generosity of spirit matters.
Most of all –