We shall rise from the ashes as one

As the smoke slowly lifted, Glenn was able to survey the damage caused by the bush fire that had raged only minutes ago. Luckily, he and his fire crew had arrived at the scene very quickly and were able to put out the fire before it really got out of hand. They had prevented it from causing the devastation in the way that countless other fires had already done throughout Australia that summer.

Glenn stopped walking and sat down on a rock that was covered in soot. He wiped his forehead and sighed deeply as he was overwhelmed by despair.
“How did it get to this?” he asked out loud.
“Well, your mob had it coming,” a deep voice beside him answered.
Glenn jerked his head to his left and rubbed his eyes in disbelief when he came face to face with a very large male wombat.
“G’day, my name’s Wangalla,” the wombat said with a friendly smile on his face.
“Hi,” Glenn hesitatingly replied, “I’m Glenn, Glenn Marston.”
“Pleased to meet ya, Glenn,” Wangalla continued. “By your mob, I mean you humans in general.”
“I see,” Glenn said.
“Hmm, I wonder if you do.”
“What do you mean?”
“You humans make a big mess wherever you go.”

Midnight Oil – River Runs Red
Glenn sighed again.
“I can’t deny that,” he said as he looked at the ashes all around him.
Wangalla could not help but feel sorry for the firie whose intentions clearly were good and who regularly put his life on the line to save the bush and the animals that lived there.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, mate. You’re doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.”
This sign of friendship and understanding put a smile on Glenn’s face.
“I suppose so. But it’s still our fault. If we all took good care of the environment, we wouldn’t have brought about the climate change that’s causing these fires.”
“I doubt that very much,” Wangalla replied.
Glenn pricked his ears up.
“You’re dead right about that taking care of the environment bit, but that’s not why there are so many fires this year.”

Glenn looked at his newly found mate with an inquisitive look on his face.
“It’s very humanlike and arrogant to assume that humans have anything to do with climate change,” Wangalla explained
“How come?”
“Climate change is all part of the Earth’s natural cycles and has been taking place for thousands and thousands of years, long before your species and our species even came into existence.”
“That’s all a bit rich for me, Wangalla. Haven’t you heard about the carbon emissions? They’ve done heaps of scientific research, ya know.”

“Ha, tests my arse,” Wangalla retorted in a display of disgust. “That’s what they want youse to believe. Scientific research is never objective. At best its carried out to prove a personal theory or opinion, at worst it comes down to fabricated reports that they use to manipulate you lot with. Just like the test reports that pharmaceutical companies pay doctors large sums of money to sign without them having been present at the tests.”
Glenn stared at Wangalla in bewilderment. Deep down he sensed that Wangalla was telling the truth, yet he still found it hard to believe.
“Hang on a moment, Wangalla. Help me get my head around this.”

“Okay, listen closely and I’ll fill you in on some important information they’re not giving you,” Wangalla said and he cleared his throat. “First of all, let me tell you who ‘they’ are. They are a small group of people, roughly one percent of the world population, who own ninety-nine percent of the world’s assets. They are the ones who run the world, not your supposedly fairly elected governments. Elections are just a way of making you believe that you actually have a say in matters that concern you. A distraction from what they carry out behind the scenes to spread fear, hatred and distrust, in order to divide and conquer you. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if these fires are being started on purpose to make you feel guilty about climate change so you’ll accept piss weak measures to reduce carbon emissions that cost billions in tax payers’ money. Yeah mate, they’ll do anything to prevent humanity from evolving and from living together in peace and harmony.”

Sade – Why Can’t We Live Together
By the look on Glenn’s face, Wangalla could tell that he was starting to cotton on.
“Now you mention it,” Glenn replied, “rumour has it that water supplies are being sold off to big corporations. No bloody wonder some fire crews don’t have enough water to put out the fires with.”
“Well, there ya go, Glenn,” Wangalla said, “I’m glad you’re paying attention.”
“Thanks, Wangalla, but what can we do about it?”
Just as Wangalla was about to answer, he and Glenn were startled by what sounded like a man sobbing. This was followed by shouting: “Over here! Come quickly!” Glenn recognized the voices.
“Sorry, Wangalla. Gotta rush,” Glenn said, jumping to his feet, and he ran off in the direction of the voices.

What he saw when he arrived at the scene, made his stomach churn. The other firies were standing in a circle around one of their mates who was cradling a badly burned koala. By the whimpering sound the koala was making, Glenn could tell it was in severe pain. The man holding it was in tears and was being consoled by a woman firie who had her arm around his shoulder.
“Glenn,” one of the firies said, “this one’s in a bad way.”
Glenn frowned as he watched one of his mates lightly spray the koala with water. He then turned around and sped to the fire truck. A few minutes later, he returned with an axe.
“C’mon Jacko,” he beckoned to the man holding the koala. “Let’s get it over with and put the poor thing out of its misery.”
Jacko nodded, gently laid the koala on a fallen tree trunk and stepped back to make way for Glenn. Glenn briefly closed his eyes, then swung the axe up high and let it crash down on the koala’s neck. In a split second, the koala was dead.
“Bugger,” Glenn mumbled, dropping the axe and making his way back to Wangalla.
However, when he arrived at the rock, Wangalla was nowhere to be found.

That night, as Glenn lay asleep in his bed, he had a very strange dream. It began with him and his mates standing around the badly injured koala. The koala’s face was larger than life and loomed up above him. Glenn lost himself in its loving eyes that seemed to be telling him something important. Then an endless stream of images flashed before his mind’s eye.

Bomber jets came flying in low over a village in the Middle East and layed it to waste. Seconds later, he found himself in a slaughterhouse where pigs squealed in sheer terror on seeing the corpses of their companions pass by hanging on hooks. At the same time, workers repeatedly gave the reluctant animals electrical shocks in their anuses to get them moving. Next, Glenn saw a terrified young girl being brutally raped by her new pimp in a dark and smelly little room in Bangkok. This scene was followed by a scene in which a board of directors sat at a very expensive looking oak table and cold-heartedly decided over a glass of brandy that they would fire thousands of employees at their car factory in order to satisfy their shareholders.

Glenn’s heart began to pound and he wanted to scream, but he could not produce any sound. Suddenly, he saw himself lifting the axe at the scene of the bushfire again, and then the koala’s face reappeared before him. However, this time, its eyes were on fire. Everywhere Glenn looked there was fire, and in a matter of seconds, the bush turned into an inferno. ‘Aaargh … !” he screamed furiously and was transported to another scene. He now found himself at the heart of Australia, looking at the big red rock called Uluru. His heartbeat and breathing returned to normal.

A woman’s voice sounded in the distance, coming closer and closer:
“Glenn, I am the Earth Mother,” the voice spoke in a warm tone.
Glenn smiled by way of reply.
“Listen to the voice of your heart. That is where you shall connect with your true self and consequently with that of others.”
“I will,” Glenn nodded.
“Yes, I know you will,” the Earth Mother said with a smile in her voice, “and when you do, start working together with like-minded people on anything that can improve the lives of all living beings.”
Glenn found himself wondering what he could do.
“It does not have to be anything big,” the Earth Mother added, reading his thoughts, “as long as it comes from your heart.”
“Acts of love,” Glenn whispered to his surprise.
“Yes, dear Glenn. Acts of love, like your job as a fireman and the relieving of that koala of its suffering. I am proud of you, you know.”
“Thank you,” Glenn spoke, a little louder this time, as a few tears trickled down his cheeks and into the corners of his smiling mouth.
Then the Earth Mother disappeared with a loving smile on her face and it began to rain.

Rain poured down so hard early that morning, that it woke Glenn up.
“RAIN … !!!” he shouted and jumped out of bed.
He was ecstatic. Finally, after months of drought and uncontrollable bushfires it was raining. Without giving it another thought, he ran outside in his undies into his front yard. There he stood with his arms reaching for the sky and his eyes closed. The rain he and so many people had longed for, flowed over his body. It felt as if he was being cleansed. Cleansed of his feelings of guilt and helplessness.
“RAIN, RAIN, RAIN … !” Glenn kept shouting.
When he opened his eyes, he saw his neighbours doing the same. Tears of joy rolled down his cheeks and became one with the rain.

It was still raining, albeit not as heavily, when Glenn arrived at the spot where he and his mates had put out the fire the day before. He got out of his car and made his way to the rock where Wangalla had spoken to him. There was still no sign of Wangalla, but just as Glenn was about to turn around and walk away, something made him stop dead in his tracks. Some ten paces away from the rock, he saw a young wombat and its mother coming out of their burrow. The sight of them made his heart cheer, but what he saw next made him stare in amazement. Koalas, echidnas, possums and even a couple of wallabies, twelve of them in total, emerged one by one from the burrow. Apparently, the wombats had provided them with shelter from the fire that would certainly have killed them otherwise.

“WOW!” Glenn exclaimed and placed his hand on his glowing heart.
“Hey mister,” a little voice sounded from below.
Glenn looked down to see the wombat joey tugging gently at his jeans with its teeth.
“Hi there, little fella,” Glenn said, laughing.
“D’ya wanna play?”
“Well, I would do normally, but I’m looking for Wangalla.”
“Did you say Wangalla?” the mother wombat, who had now joined her joey, asked.
“Yeah, the old wombat. He and I were talking here yesterday and I want to thank him for his wise words. Do you know where he is?”
“I don’t think you were talking to Wangalla himself, but to his spirit.”
Glenn’s eyebrows arched.
“Wangalla died a couple of years back,” the wombat mum explained.
“Oh, I see,” Glenn said with a hint of sadness in his voice.
“You know what, if you sit on that rock over there,” the wombat mother said, pointing at the rock where Glenn and Wangalla had sat the day before, “his spirit will contact you again.”
“Oh, thank you so much, missus Wombat,” Glenn said, hugging the wombat mum.
“No worries,” she replied, laughing, “I get the feeling that Wangalla is looking forward to tell you something.”

Glenn wasted no time in going back to the rock. He sat down and closed his eyes in anticipation. A few moments later, a warm and familiar voice sounded to his right:
“Hullo Glenn.”
Glenn opened his eyes to see Wangalla sitting beside him with an ear to ear grin on his face.
“Wangalla!” Glenn cried and wrapped his arms around him.
“Alright, alright,” Wangalla said, laughing, “no need to flatten me, mate.”
“I was afraid I’d never see you again.”
“Well, I knew you’d be back. So, what ‘ve you been up to?”
Glenn told Wangalla about the koala, his dream and what the Earth Mother had told him.

“I’m glad the Earth Mother visited you,” Wangalla said when Glenn had finished speaking. “What I’m going to tell you now will help you to listen to the voice of your heart and carry out those acts of love she told you about.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Okay then, make yourself comfortable and close your eyes.”
Glenn did as he was instructed and waited patiently for Wangalla to start speaking.
“By spending more time in Nature, you will reconnect with your own nature. You will begin to understand that you humans are not the land’s owners but its custodians. This new consciousness will change your way of thinking. Change begins with yourself but takes place when you act upon your desires. Make contact with your heart and ask yourself what you really want.”

Glenn listened closely to his heart and began to visualize the changes he wanted to see in the world. Countless images appeared before his mind’s eye. They were images from all over the world. First, he saw acre upon acre of food forests. The people tending to the trees and plants were smiling. They emanated a sense of community. The faces changed and Glenn found himself in a city where people were friendly and kind to each other. They looked so healthy. Then it dawned on him that the air was clean. He took a deep breath and smiled. It was so good to be alive in a world with clean air, rivers and soil. A world where everyone worked together in a fair economy that was run by the people and for the people. A world without political states, exclusion, manipulation, exploitation, conflict, cruelty, pain and sickness. A world where everyone lived together in peace, happiness, and abundance.

“I want to care for the trees, the plants and the animals,” Glenn suddenly whispered and opened his eyes.
“I knew it,” Wangalla said and placed his paw on Glenn’s back. “Well then, let me give you some advice, Glenn.”
“Yes, please,” Glenn replied, expectantly.
“Make contact with one of the Aboriginal communities and ask the people there to teach you about preventive burning.”
“That’s a great idea,” Glenn said.
“I reckon you’ll love learning about how to let fire work for you instead of against you.”
“You bet.”
“You know, Glenn. It’s all about unity. About living and working as one. Once everyone understands this and puts it into practice, your mob will start creating an entirely different world.”
On hearing those words, Glenn got on his knees. He put his arms around Wangalla in a big loving hug and spoke with great warmth in his heart:
“Thank you very much, brother.”
“You’re welcome, brother, and thank you for listening.”
Then, intuitively, they looked up into the sky to see the most magnificent full-circle rainbow they had ever seen. Glenn turned to Wangalla, placed his hand on his heart and spoke clearly:
“We shall rise from the ashes as one.”

We’re not gonna sit in silence
We’re not gonna live with fear

From ‘You’re The Voice’ by John Farnham

Wombat: Intelligence, quickness of thought, playfulness, rightful aggression, correcting misunderstanding, stability, structure, grounding, inner trust
Rainbow: new beginnings, change, fortune, peace, tranquility

Wangalla: Aboriginal word meaning ‘tongue’
Firie: Australian for firefighter
Joey: Australian for a young marsupial

‘Bush Fire’ by Michele Cooper on Pixabay
‘Mr Wombat’ by Xavier Lukins on Freeimages
‘Australia’ by FoleyVideoEditing on Pixabay
‘Ayers Rock’ by Flo K on Pixabay
‘Wombat’ by PenAsh on Pixabay
‘Circle Rainbow’ by Joy Butler on Freeimages


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