Four Years ago Today

Four Years ago Today

During the Canberra firestorm we were lucky enough o save out home but we lost our garden completely. On the first anniversary we decided to establish a tradition and photograph the garden every year on that day.

This is what the garden looked like after the fires.

This is what it looks like today

This is what the front looked like after the fires.

This is the same view today.

By the second year we had done a lot of work in the garden but we have been constantly battling drought so regrowth has been slow and stunted.

As you can see we have lost one of the hedge plants to drought this year but for all that I think we can safely say that the garden has been re-established.

How has that day effected us?

I would say that although at the time the fires were very traumatic today when I review personal lessons learnt I realise that they made me focus on what I consider to be important in my life. Of course the importance of relationships were highlighted clearly and thankfully at the time those were strong so there have been no major shifts there.

In the years since I have stopped doing things that I felt were not giving the satisfaction I wanted and put my energy into those that did. There is nothing quite like the experience of waking up to a normal hum drum day, toddling along with your life, having all hell break loose by the afternoon, and by the evening devestation, property and lives lost. An experience like that highlights everything in your life and is a continuing influence. It sorts out what is important and what is not.

Now I make sure at the end of the day that I feel good about some aspect of that day. Something I have done, shared with another or has enhanced my life in some way – I don’t let my days slide by. If I want to get something achieved I set goals and get on and do it, as you never know when life can shift and shift dramatically. Simply put I get on with IT!

The other thing is that I no longer hoard a stash as such. On the day we fought the fires but quilts, photos, journals were tossed into the back of the car in case we had to get out quick. If we had lost the house the stash of ‘special’ things to be used on a ‘special’ project would have been lost. I no longer have ‘special’ stuff and stuff I just use everything. I don’t hoard for the future because we are not sure what the future may bring.

For those who are aware of this personal ‘back story’ I do have a gallery of photos taken in the weeks after the fire which you may find interesting.

Tonight we will dine out and give thanks for our good fortune then int he cool of the evening take a walk around the district.


  1. Was just looking at this post again, and realize that the “hydrangea” isn’t, at all! Next guess would be agapanthus? WhatEVER the thing(s) is, it’s beautiful!

  2. Hi Sharon,

    I also live in an urban area exposed to forest fires each year. We have had our lot of big fires, however they never reach the size of the one of Canberra! I did not know of it until last sunday, when they broadcast an emission about what could happen in Sydney, based on what happened in Canberra. They explained very thoroghly how the fire evolves and has a life on its own. It is really terrifying.
    I’m glad your house survived this disaster. And you did really well with your garden. I know how it feels to see the earth, vegetations and animals burnt all around, and the smell of it is heartbreaking too. It takes a lot of courage to go on and recreate what has been lost, knowing this can happen again. And in our area, most, not to say all, fires are lighted by men, some accidently, most on purpose.

    Hope you won’t live that again, and that your garden will thrive;


  3. So happy to see that despite Drought conditions your garden has “come back” Sharon.
    I less than 3 weeks we move,and I need to start planning a drought friendly low maintainance garden…any suggestions?

    BTW Do enjoy your Thanksgiving tonight.

  4. How terrifying that time must have been for you, Sharon! We have our fire season here, but I’ve never been close to what you went through. At least you didn’t lose your house. Your garden is beautiful again! Love that hydrangea. I took a gander at the pictures you posted of the immediate aftermath, and notice that your “artists’ eye” was still working, even through the shock. Many of those pictures, viewed as abstract images rather than disaster documentation, are striking!

  5. an interesting and eye opening post. It reinforces how tiny and vulnerable we are when it comes to the force of nature.

    As you say , it puts into perspective just what is important to us, and makes us appreciate the little things in life.

  6. Hi Sharon, I remember you’re telling of this story awhile back, how you no longer save your stash but rather use and enjoy it.

    I was the same way, would save certain things for that “something special” but again, thanks to your inspiration, I no longer do that. I use what I want to use and figure, there’s always more special do dads to be found.

    Sharon, you are such an inspiration! I’ve learned so many things from you and I want to say “thanks”!

    BTW your garden looks so beautiful!

    Pam Kellogg
  7. I can hardly believe it’s 4 years since your fire Sharon, but something like that does put everything in perspective, as does getting older!
    It would have been a great loss to the world of embroidery had things gone differently.

  8. It’s sad to lose any plants for any reason, but one plant, with all the drought you’ve had down there, maybe that’s not so bad. Thanks for the thoughts on how this has changed your life. I’m glad it wasn’t worse then, and isn’t worse now. =)

  9. Hi Sharon,
    I was so impressed by your writing and the photos from here and the gallery. I didn’t know about the fire in Canberra, so sorry to hear.
    In Japan, it was also the twelfth memorial day of the Kobe earthquake yesterday and lots of disastrous scenes were broadcasted and reminded us of the old fear, too. Over 6,000 people were killed then.
    It was so lucky for you your home and cq works were saved. And your garden has been recovered now. I agree with you. If we can live in daily routins everyday peacefully, it’s the happiest life however it’s small. Hideko

  10. Sharon,

    So glad you survived such a horror time, and that you can look back with positive thoughts to the future. It is sad that it is all happening again, our prays should be with all those facing and experiencing this threat right now we face another bad fire year.



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