As most of the world knows, Victoria has been suffering from bushfires that are the worst in Australian history.
I'm ashamed to say that I didn't find out about any of it until the next day as I was too busy trying to escape the 46.4C heatwave in the safe city of Melbourne by doing my shopping extra-early and then staying inside in air-conditioned comfort with Love Chunks, Sapphire and our pets, busying ourselves with weekend newspapers, DVDs and the computer.
All too soon it was apparent that these bushfires - where wasn't there one burning in Victoria? - were far worse than even the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 (which I remember too well) or an earlier bushfire disaster in 1939. At least 108 people dead, with still more heartbreaking searches amongst the ashes and rubble to go.
Late last night on the news several women were waiting, clutching Red Cross cups of instant coffee, wearing borrowed clothes; their homes destroyed, souls shattered. Two interviewed by the news crew were shaking as they waited for news - any news - of their husbands, who'd they last seen the day before. I'm ashamed to say that I watched this whilst sitting on my comfortable lounge, eating some chocolate, so far removed from their hell, and readying myself for bed.
Baino says it much better than I can and ex-Melbournite Sophie is watching the tragedy unfold from far away in Dubai but is still reeling from the horror and futility of it all. I'm ashamed to say that I don't have the writing abilities to do this disaster any 'justice', if that's even an appropriate way to describe it.
Victorian Premier, John Brumby, broke down during a news conference and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Police Commissioner Dixon were also struggling. Entire towns have been destroyed and it is almost impossible to imagine the impact it will have on families, friends and communities. I'm ashamed to say that I just can't imagine it; I really can't.
What I can do - and I'm asking that you do, too - is donate. Tears choke me as I thank the entity called 'God' that all I have to worry about is that Sapphire settles into her nice new school, some writing gigs are flung my way and that our car doesn't get broken into too often. Small gripes indeed.