Afterwards is hard. The adrenalin disappears and the magnitude of the devastation sinks in. Everyone becomes tetchy and on edge, post traumatic stress sets in. The smell of smoke lingers loudly.
Whilst walking in the forest in the post-fire days I kept wondering why there seemed to be so many pieces of shiny black plastic lying on the forest floor. And who had left it there (tsk, tsk)?
When I finally stopped and paid attention I realised it was not plastic at all. Every last piece was a eucalyptus leaf, or part thereof, burned in the nearby fires but still intact, to a certain extent, and tough, and fibrous. The oils had burned away, but not the leaves themselves. They had floated down from the sky with the ash.