When I was growing up on my family’s hill block farm in the 1970s, it was common for us to muster the sheep and cattle on foot. At the time, the long, hot summers spent running up and over ridges, pursuing livestock seemed onerous.
I was a boy scout. Possibly still am. Although the popularity of this as a pastime was already waning in the 90s, those of us involved were learning too much and having too much fun to really worry about the perception. It’s hard to believe now that in early adolescence we were allowed, even required, to head off into the wilderness surrounding the Southern Alps with no adult supervision.
William Brandt has written a novel, a collection of short stories and plays. As an actor, he has appeared on stage and screen. He teaches short fiction at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters and belongs to Write Where You Are, a charity which teaches creative writing in prisons.
It’s my first walk in the wilds for quite some time. Little annoyances are mounting up; where’s my pack liner? Where are my merino undies? The weather forecast is gloomy, but why wouldn’t it be? Finally I heave my pack into the car, and off I go for a late afternoon walk along the bush edge. At the road-end, it’s hosing down. Raincoat on and out into it. Maybe three hours of daylight left.