Some updates and reflections from our very own Conjurer of Light and Lantern Sorcerer Elena:
Greetings from Inglewood!
Yesterday I made the trek out west to go retrieve all the lanterns that were packed away in storage. Aside from it being an unbearably hot, dry and dusty 40 degrees, it was also a really eye opening visit. On the way out we noticed signs in cafes in Warwick asking people to not take any more water then they need because of the restrictions. When we met with the owner of the storage facility in Inglewood he said they were doing better than many other towns in the state because (I kid you not), “we have enough water till May.”
It was hard not to notice how bone dry the land was past Cunningham’s gap. What is usually at least a little green but mostly yellow was nearly all ash.... On the way back we stopped in at Lake Coolmunda, the dam which services the Inglewood region, and were shocked to find it completely empty.
Given all of this, and the fires which continue to rage across the continent, it’s hard not to call into question our responsibilities as Burners to the land and the community when we think about how we can best live up to our principles of radical care, leave no trace etc. At Woodford this year organisers respected calls from elders and other community leaders to find an alternate way to celebrate the closing ceremony without fire. I wonder whether it’s time we started to think about what we might have to do instead if the terribly dry and dangerous conditions don’t let up through autumn.
As the ecological crisis unfolds, and the earth continues to cry her dry tears, increasingly I feel as though we must be prepared to start thinking about finding ways to adapt our rituals and revelries in a way that would not further stress the land.