every cloud has a silver lining

dumbo feather clouds


especially the ones shared through a conversation

Today I decided to write a letter.  There are many ‘things’ that need replacing in our burnt out world, some things can’t be replaced, generally it’s difficult to even consider what it is that needs replacing – the enormity of the collection of ones life.

Yesterday I found something that inspired me.  It represented something that had been physically lost in the fires, but also something that can’t be lost.

I shared the following letter with the editors of Dumbo Feather, a magazine, about extraordinary people.


Dear Berry & Livia,


It’s seven weeks since the devastating fires that swept through South Eastern Tasmania took my home, workshop, garden and livelihood in one massive hot sweep.

I’m now sitting at the table of someone else’s home, a  beach shack at Sommers Bay in Murdunna, eating muesli, drinking tea, surrounded by their things, pondering the next step that I need to take to get life back on track.


Yesterday afternoon after collecting my son from the school bus (that delivered Sage home from a school that was temporarily reconstructed in 5 weeks), we stopped into the Murdunna Store (amazingly still standing and often referred to as the centre of the universe) – to my utter delight was a stack of Dumbo Feather zines sitting on the front counter, overjoyed I threw one next to my 2 litres of Pyengana Real Milk exclaiming, ‘Nice work 🙂 Dumbo Feather in Murdunna’.


As I picked it up this morning ready to delve deep into the first quarter of 2013, as represented by the fabulous folk at Dumbo Feather, escaping the reality of our first quarter, it dawned upon me – they’re all gone.  Not ‘my’ Dumbo Feathers, my dear friend and neighbour, Rachel Dean’s Dumbo Feathers.


At first when the house burnt down, I tried to stop thinking about ‘the things’ that were now ash, choosing to focus on life, the beauty amongst the devastation and rising up from the ashes like a shining light.  Every day a new image pops into my mind representing what was, usually the image is sparked by an action, conversation or object that is stumbled upon throughout the day.

Yesterday it was a surfboard, my friend Mat had returned from the physio with strict instructions to ‘go surfing’ – the image of my gorgeous friend Jacqui’s surfboard popped into my mind like a board shooting up out of the depths of a wave.  The words, ‘ok Ange so I’m happy for you to use my surfboard, but. . . it’s special, I had it custom made by a shaper here in Tassie, it even has my name penciled onto it,  so if anything were to happen to it – I imagined how it might have melted into a pile of ash next to the beautiful antique sewing model it was leaning against in my bedroom.

Today it was a stack of Dumbo Feathers.  I’d wrangled the entire collection from the bookshelf in Rachel’s spacious toilet/reading room to search for an article I’d read about, ‘how to interview your children and the importance of that’.  I wished for a moment that I was one of those super organised and reliable friends who returned things systematically the moment their purpose was complete – I’m a little more random than that.   Some of the books that were cremated in the fire still contained visible text, the carbon/ink didn’t seem to burn away, they sat in their final resting place the illusion of a book – when I reached to pick one up, it turned to ash between my fingers.  There was no sign of the Dumbo Feathers in the remains.


While the beautiful people in my world wouldn’t dream of mentioning such things at this time in our lives, I find the burning feeling that sometimes arrives in my chest when I recall something special that has left our physical world, burns deeper when it is something that I’d borrowed, something that was in my care or something that is simply irreplaceable.


I’d never purchased a Dumbo Feather before yesterday, I’d just walk up the hill to Rachel’s house and flick through hers, sometimes she’d say, ‘take it home and keep reading Ange, Ella (my gorgeous 12 year old daughter) might like to look at it too’.


Thankfully Rachel and Jet are still up there at 46 Duck Creek Rd, amidst their charred and blackened 100 acres standing like a pillar of hope.  It’s miraculous that their beautiful home and studio is still there given the ferocity of the fire that took our place only 200 metres down the hill. They’ve lost other things, sheds, tools, workshops, kayaks, vehicles, the seclusion of their beautiful bush retreat and the smells, sounds, creatures and bush that encompassed them.


But as shared by Berry in the editor’s note; we are stumbling along together here and in the greater scheme of things, we have a big stick and we’re beating to the blackened earth calling out with the ferocity of the fire that we are still here and nothing is more important than NOW.


We have a story to share and your stories at Dumbo Feather help us live with passion and inspiration.




Angela and the Murdannaites


P.S.  I started blogging amidst the beginning of this incredible journey – I haven’t posted for a while.  This letter will be my first post in a month.  Feel free to peer into our world at https://murdunnarising.wordpress.com




2 thoughts on “every cloud has a silver lining

  1. Your words are very moving Angela, I have no reality of what it is like to lose your entire known world. However your words in this letter gave me some glimmer of understand of what you are going through, and no doubt will experience repeatedly for a long time to come. My heart and thoughts are with you, and I wish I could do more to help, I will following your’s an your family’s journey, and help when I can.

  2. I’ve just picked up my copy of Dumbo Feather and the first thing I read was your letter at the back. I’m going through a season of removing things from my life (I’ve been calling it the Urge to Purge) and I’d love to send you my collection of DF’s… there’s around 30 of them… if you’ll have them. I’ll pay the postage… they’re yours… please share them with all in Murdunna… a wee little DF library for all. Just let me know.

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