Sunday, February 8, 2009

Australia Aflame

With half of the country underwater or up in smoke, I'm not sure if it seems fitting or disrespectful that today should be the day that I metamorphose from a champion reluctant Blogee to an enthused, if slightly nervous, Blogger.  The temperature has dropped at least 5˚C since I started, and I'm wondering whether I've disturbed some fundamental cosmic balance by jumping on the ever-crowded Internet 2.0 bandwagon. 

However, I suspect that the only real surprise is why it took me so damn long to relent - after all, in a time when even middleagedteachers have become Online Fashion Gurus, the unremarkable debut of yet another iGeneration brat isn't exactly Man Bites Dog. 

But back onto the weather. As an oafish New South Wales politician stammeringly put it, "the bush is beautiful, but brutal." The heart-breaking extremes the country has seen today - from raging floods in Queeensland to quite possibly the worst bushfires the south has seen since European colonization - come at a time when conventional scientific opinion on Australia's weather patterns has been challenged (and suddenly the course I took a year ago in climatology is outdated). And despite this tragedy, I cannot help but wonder what a strange land the first Australians saw. Evidence suggests that the continent was truly a land of extremes, dominated by bizarre Megafauna and ravaged by massive fires on a regular basis. Over countless years, the newcomers tamed the fire cycle, slowly changing the landscape and inadvertently guiding the course of evolution on our island. 

With that said, is it trite to complain about the very cute if noisy minifauna making a racket on my balcony? I managed to steal a photo while it was munching on some acorns:

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