Finishing off some Gray Nomad writing before bed.
People who have never experienced a cane fire before, are awed at the sight of one.
The leading hand lights the drip torch and stretches it out to his work mates; they light theirs from his. Carefully, these are carried along the break they've cut through the tinder-dry cane.
A toddler squeals for joy as his grandfather lowers the torch to ignite the cane. It begins to burn slowly. Then the fire creeps along the base of the cane, toward the centre of the field. You can feel the air move as fire creates a wind draft as it draws the fire up into the tops of the stalks. The dusk sky glows orange.
Now the children are leaping and laughing as birds swoop to catch snakes slithering out of the cane. Bandicoots and possums bound out of the field. A few onlookers either climb onto trailers or kick—as mice scurry past. The mice race towards unburnt paddocks. More birds have arrived; they swirl in the sky and make their dive to pick off the mice—only a few find cover.
This blog writer is Ryn Shell, artist and author of stories of crime, mystery, suspense, coming-of-age, love and Australia.
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