I now have a better understanding of what the word aftermath means. At least insofar as it concerns those involved in whatever is to follow; those who will be picking up the pieces. I know that in the Grand Scheme of Things the fire in Wilmot is small potatoes, but in the ordinary lives of the good folks of Wilmot, the shop was important, and the loss significant. You only have to look at the faces of those who come to stand at the edge of the devastation and look to know that.
They are wondering what will happen…will the shop be rebuilt? They need it to be rebuilt. But they need more than reassurance that there will be a new shop; they need petrol, and bread, and milk, and newspapers NOW. The shop was where they met friends, had a coffee, did business… “Hey, John, how’s it going? Say, I’m having a bit of trouble with… Have you still got some spare… I could borrow?”
As one of the players in the Aftermath, I am acutely aware that the immediate needs of the community are not automatically a part of the legal and financial considerations that the decision-makers will be addressing. I am constantly being reminded by those around me–family and friends who have my interests in mind– that I need to plan and decide, and, indeed, act in my own best interest. I know that, I really do. But how can my best interest not include the interests of the community I want to become a part of?
Meanwhile, I wait. The attorneys are in charge now. At least they are the actors currently on centre stage. I believe we all have a wish to see the shop re-commence trading–albeit on a very limited basis, out of a temporary mobile shed or such–but the devil is always in the detail. Time being one face of the beast, money being another. I hate this!
Then there is another dilemma: if things work out such that I can rebuild the shop, then I have to decide HOW to rebuild it. Do I follow my instincts and try to recreate an (the) old country store? Or do I take the advice of some advisors and accept–on behalf of the community–that their historic old store is gone. Completely gone. Do I build a new concept building that is energy efficient, bushfire safe, and financially practical? Does it even matter?
Meanwhile, I wait… MM