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.
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.
A fossil craze hit my school in the early 1990s, and I my other school friends became briefly obsessed with the idea of collecting rocks. For me it didn’t last all that long. I spent a day at Birdlings Flat thinking I would unearth a piece of a dinosaur, but instead kicked dusty rocks about and lost my pocketknife.