In theory, the idea of seasons and the changes they bring are wonderful. Here in Canberra where I live, for example, we have wonderful seasons. Spring brings Floriade, our annual flower festival. In Autumn, the whole city is painted in shades of brown and gold as the foliage turns. Winter is icy and chilly and perfect for cuddling indoors, and summer is bright and shining and the days are long and lazy.
But sometimes it's easy to forget that the change of seasons can bring great dangers. For the elderly and the poor, both Summer and Winter can be very difficult times. In Canberra, Spring brings immense winds that can cause huge damage (although luckily nothing like the tornado season that hits parts of the US, or the cyclone season they deal with in Northern Australia).
As I write this, bushfire season has begun in a horrendous way here in Australia. There's dozens of bushfires burning across NSW, several of them still out of control. More than 200 homes have been confirmed lost, and that number is sure to rise. There's only been one reported fatality so far, but with the weather set to deteriorate over the next couple of days, the worry is that it won't stop there.
And this is only in October. Bushfire season here lasts until March. How much worse could it get?
Oftentimes in our books, we write about the darkside of humanity - both within our human characters, and also using our supernatural friends to showcase what humanity can be when devoid of all emotion or connection to others, or when we let the animal loose.
I'm hard pressed, however, to think of books where the darkside of nature is used as part of the terror and threat our characters are put through. Can you think of any?
Perhaps it's because we still have this idea that maybe, just maybe, we can understand and change what people think, feel and do. Whereas we've really got no control over nature, as much as sometimes we believe we do, and from time to time we get reminders just how much we are at the mercy of our surroundings.
My thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one or their home in a bushfire. And I admire and am overwhelmed with the courage of the firefighters who every summer risk everything to keep us safe.