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thoughts on forest fires and progenies

Flanders,

Here in the south: the smell of burning forest no longer keeps me up at night. It has been replaced by the sea— how loud it is some nights, as it throws itself against the rocks— and the vigorous conversations of what must be a million cicadas. I haven’t written because first we were busy packing to go on the road and then we were on the road.

The plantations back home in the north are gone and burnt. The ground is black and the sky is a dark grey haze. One morning I had to use the garden hose to keep the fires at bay while we waited for the fire truck— I don’t exaggerate. Weeks I spent fuming at old-fashioned (this is the kindest word to use and possibly least accurate) farming practices.

But we digress— a son!

All news pales before this: you have created your replacement. Did you know that we are meant not to have a litter but a child to replace each parent? So as not to overburden? We have two so that labels us as progressive, liberal thinkers. Hurrah!

But a son! Have you noticed how this changes you? How your creativity goes down the toilet and your writing sucks because that poison that you draw from has been child-proofed! We can’t have them ingesting it by accident. We put a lock on the lid and store it in the basement or loft. But don’t despair, I discovered that you can take the bottle down from the shelf when they are older. How old? Hahaha! That depends on what you’ve got. Potent stuff seeps out.

But what I hate most, more than not being able to write for years and years, is how paralysed you are by the love you feel for them. Suddenly you understand terror.

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