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Clean air euphoria 16 January 2020

Posted by uggclogs in Life.

I’m practically euphoric. Like a lamb released after a long winter. I’m skipping down the street because I’m out and I can breathe.

This was my last Facebook post. I’m texting friends about how happy I am. The kangaroos and feral bunnies are making me smile. I’m not even trying to suppress my occasional skip as I walk along.

You might be wondering what this is all about. Have I finally gone mad?

Let’s rewind a bit.

Canberra has been blanketed with thick hazardous bushfire smoke for weeks. Occasionally, the smoke lifts a bit, but the air quality has been “poor”, “unhealthy” or “hazardous” (times 25) since the start of December.

We’ve been bushfire prepared for weeks. The grab bag and all our essentials have been packed in the car in case the fires will come rampaging through as they did in 2003.

There have been nights I’ve lain awake refreshing the bushfire app Fires Near Me watching those grass fires less than 2km away. Or 6km away. Or the bushfires at 65km, or 55km, or 47km away.

Helicopters flying overhead with water to fight them.

I’m hyper alert. Not scared. Just aware and prepared.

We’ve been hoping for rain. We’ve been watching weather forecasts and wind projections.

Explaining our bushfire plans to little minds without freaking them out. It’s been tough. But nowhere near as tough as those who have lost loved ones, livestock, property, everything.

We are the lucky ones.

We have stayed home without much danger. Just a deep sense of uneasiness.

We’ve been checking in with neighbours and their plans. We’ve been putting clean water out for the wildlife. We’ve been worried for friends with family in the fires, when they haven’t been able to get through to loved ones either physically or on the phone. We’ve rejoiced with them when family is found safe and well.

The community has largely banded together. Millions of dollars donated, goods collected and hand delivered to areas in desperate need.

And today?


Glorious rain.

Sadly, with loads of lightening.

But the rain!

Thick, fat raindrops pulling pollution out of the air, creating a brief and cool respite. I’ve gone for a walk tonight.

Hence my euphoria and comparisons to spring lambs. After all of that, I can glimpse my wonderful old friend; Canberra. A staunch middle aged lady who has been prepared for a hammering who now breathes a temporary sigh of relief.

As I walk back towards my house I see I have forgotten to take some of the Christmas decorations down and I am just happy, contented. I laugh in the street like a mad woman.

Clean air, especially in Australia feels like such a given. The never ending blue of the sky is one of my favourite things about this country. And to not have seen that brilliant deep colour for weeks has affected my mood, my ability to get out and exercise and the kids. They have been cooped up for so long they don’t even know which way is up anymore.

I’m hoping for more rain overnight.

It’s been hard to remain level-headed and optimistic, but tonight’s 30-minute walk has refilled my cup and I want to share it.

Whilst it may not last, I want to enjoy tonight. I want to feel the euphoria.

Sending all my thoughts to the coastal communities who have lost so much. I hope the rain has given you room to breathe as well.


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