The Scooby-Doo house has history, like mangy dogs have form. An indent in the coils of the Putty Road, it is a mongrel place that wears its non-conformity with snarling pride, its stories cyphers steeped in allegation and denial.
Or it was until it burned alive.
I used to use that phone, hyped up on bush-doof anticipation and cheap goon. Scissoring through endless tracts of land along a cursive white line, we’d slew to a halt, the trusty Falcon ticking and hissing, to use the phone. In those days, long before mobiles, it was the only way to find out where the doof was, although more often than not, by this point you could already hear the primordial heartbeat.
Seems funny to think that all those years tinged with sparkles and abandon were coordinated from a place of such repute.
This repute? It is a sub-rosa subset of anecdotal awe, tall tales, quick digs, fading memories and truckers lore. The old Fleet Wing servo, called out over the airwaves on long nights hauling; a deal gone bad, bloodied hands and a woman on the run – by the time the missing person’s report had been lodged, the body was gone; pig dogs let loose in the scrub, hounds of fury that roam far…
To us it was the Scooby-Doo house, a tatty scrabble of tin sheds and lean-tos green with age and rot, windows darkened with sacks; shrouded in the landscape, deep in thought, it had an air of malevolence that conjured Scoobs worst jitters. It was creepy as hell, hence the lack of photos.
Now it is a still, smouldering pile of ash. Twisted iron climbs from the wreckage, molten metal cooled into pools from the hubs of a hundred old trucks, and an endless ache of space where once the bush was impenetrable. The eyes that used to glare at us unseen are now gauged out, sockets rasped dry.
The gate flaps forlornly, something ticks nearby, and blackened crumpled cans are the last vestiges of lives lived unknown. It is said there was a mob of people here, a rabble of family. We never saw them, although I am certain they saw us. In despair, they are no less unveiled, the mystery of them and the stories they have inspired stealing away, disintegrating on the air.
I heard the firies had to pull the old fella out of his bed so determined was he to remain. I wonder what he will do, his everything obliterated, scorched into the bowels of an angry earth.
It is incomprehensible. But everything is incomprehensible at the moment as fires rage through the land, soot falls from the sky and the bush echoes with the screams of burning animals.
And I have no more words, no images that can adequately capture the horror. So I shall rely upon others:
Australia is committing climate suicide: New York Times
Changed world puts an end to our lazy summer: Sydney Morning Herald
Mallacoota burns: ‘panic’ on the ground as Australian navy called in: The Guardian
A national disaster: The Monthly
The lyrics of U2’s New Year’s Day are the inspiration for the title of this blog, but this, too, resonates:
“Though torn in two we can be one. I will begin again, I will begin again”