Home: place and space

Home is the physical location where you and/or your family/team reside.

In December 2019 our home was the most dangerous place to be.

Temperatures soared to 43°C (109.4°F) in our area of the Adelaide Hills, usually known for its cooler climes; and a northwesterly wind gusted unpredictably. It was a cliched recipe for disaster and we all knew it (we were mostly packed and ready to evacuate, an annoying way to live if nothing actually happens — please read irony here). As the Cudlee Creek Bushfire raced towards our small town, we all (mostly) raced away from our homes. In 84 cases, those homes would have become tombs if the owners stayed. This was a visible fury, a fearful beast smothering the horizon, imbibing everything and relishing in its power.

Home: a sense of place and space by Kendrea Rhodes
Wildfire. Oil on canvas.
Original artwork: Kendrea Rhodes

We all hugged, huddled, cuddled and grouped together in someone else’s home, far from our own. We held hands, consoled, entertained, ate, drank and waited out the disaster. Together. We somehow detached our hearts from the land and said, ‘It’s just stuff, we have everything we value right here in this getaway vehicle.’

We undid our sense of place and looked at it objectively. After all, we were not in control.

In March 2020 our home is the safest place to be.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created closures as big as a continent: our home, our island home is safer than many countries at the moment. The Australian Government have closed all international borders and the South Australian Government have closed all state borders. But when I say closed, I don’t mean blocked like a triple-locked front door and security screen with nanny-cam spying down on you. No. I mean that you can still come home but you will be monitored: your whereabouts and temperature are known.

At home we will not hug, huddle, cuddle and group together. We will not hold hands, clasp each other or touch, but everything else is up for grabs: consolation, eternal entertainment, food, drink, time and space to wait out this disaster. Together. Our home is our castle and however flimsy our moat and delicate our drawbridge, we are safe. Safe within the confines of our large and looming walls. Safe until the invisible invaders crawl in on the shoe of the unsuspecting ‘designated’ shopper. This is an invisible fury, a fearful smothering beast, imbibing everything in our lungs and relishing in its power.

We undo our sense of space and are currently looking at it objectively. After all, we are still not in control.

Captain Jack Sparrow said, “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

Home: it’s a vista.

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