When the news burns hot.

Last year we saw in the new year - piper playing, stars casting a net of light above us, night birds calling. Earlier we had done a bushtucker walk with a ranger and discovered trees and bushes that were edible around the Binna Burra lodge. We had already got to know where the bower bird had its bower and where the snakes were active and where the nests and homes were of the wildlife nearby. We had checked out the trees and the flowers. We had walked the walk.

We were staying in one of the huts, original on the outside, but comfortable on the inside. We had a shared shower and toilet because the huts were heritage listed and couldn't have plumbing attached. In the morning, we opened our curtains to the view of the mountains and the mist rising above.

It's different when the news is personal. It's different when you look at the wreckage and remember eating at the restaurant and choosing a book from the library just beside. It's different when you have a connection.

And so we move onto item two of the news of the day and there are fires in Stanthorpe. Another favourite place to unwind and to soak up the peace and the ambience. There are the wineries, one owned by an ex co worker of my husband, the chemist is a friend. How could I have blithely spent so many wonderful sojournes in this place and not realised that water was an issue, or that fire could be particularly savage? Clearly, this is a place that isn't just about the jam and the home made soaps and the wines and the vinegars and the olive oil. This is a place where real people have their businesses and their homes and their livelihood.

I feel so sad to think about the people who have lost all of this. I feel sad for the people who came home to rubble and devastation. I feel sad for the Binna Burra rangers who have no place to work. I feel sad that many of those animals they must know so well, may not have survived.

I wonder where I will spend my next new year's eve and I am thinking that home might be the answer. Let's look after what we have. Let's heed the warnings and take care. Let's get ready, Queensland.

- Linda Muller