Enchanted and magical are the two words that come to mind when I think of Marysville, Australia. These are not words I use lightly. Although I’ve traveled extensively, I can only think of one other place that is worthy of those two words. Places that are majestic, stunningly beautiful, or breathtaking are common by comparison.
This week, Marysville was decimated by bushfire. The Marysville that enchanted me ceased to exist.
The stories told by the survivors are horrific, and are being re-told by the media around the globe. The reports seek to quantify the loss in terms of property damage and a death toll that continues to rise daily. But, that’s not the story I have to tell.
My story begins in 1990 when I arrived in Ringwood, Australia as a Rotary Exchange Student. The Donovans were one of my first host families. Ma, Pa, and their two sons welcomed me into their family and their hearts. I loved living with them and felt as if I were truly a part of the family.
In the winter of 2004 I returned to Australia and was able to re-connect with Ma & Pa and stay with them in their new hometown of Marysville. They’d relocated there a few years earlier after their sons left home and were running several holiday cabins.
The few days we spent visiting with them were one of the true highlights of the trip. It was so easy to fall right back into being a member of the family, even after being away for 14 years. But, it wasn’t just the company that made this visit so special, it was the place as well.
I wanted to try to describe what made it magical, but words can’t do it justice. It’s like reading an entry in a guidebook. It’s simply not the same as actually visiting that place. So, instead I ask you to close your eyes and remember the places you’ve been that felt magical or enchanted. Remember that feeling and think of Marysville.
Marysville is gone. Ma & Pa are alive, but everything is gone. When I hear about tragedies in the news, it always feels so distant and remote. It’s hard to make a personal connection to something happening on the other side of the planet, or even the other side of the country. Not so this time.
It was a magical place, and the fairies had to go home. http://www.brunosart.com/
It’s my prayer that they someday return and help mend the lives of those who remain.