Our weekend, the one just gone was big and full. One thing I remember loving from my childhood was my parents love of the bush and four-wheel driving. I liked sitting in the back seat window down, seat belt off being thrown about and looking out into the bush my imagination going wild with all the adventures to be had out there in the middle of nowhere.
The places where things like money and Nintendo’s and material objects have no meaning. They have no place in the middle of nature.
My dad owned a very large property which we called Poke-a-long, because you literally could only ‘poke-a-long’ it was filled with big old apple gums and lichen laden bush rock.
There were waterfalls and creeks filled with rainbow perch, we’d camp out under the stars with a bonfire, we’d fish the creeks, wrap our fish in foil and put it right into the flames. You could get nothing fresher or healthier for dinner.
My sister and I would explore bare footed for hours praying to get lost, yet we’d always find our way back.
We’d make and set up traps in the small creeks to catch the cray fish hiding in there.
We’d drink straight from the waterholes.
It felt nice as a kid to have that feral free feeling you can only get from being out in the open bush on your own, exploring, creating things and catching your own food.
We never wanted to go back home where things like school and cleaning our rooms where important. I would have been happy to have been left there to fend for myself, it is much easier than the maze of usual life that’s for sure.
Our parents would let us sit on the tail gate of our landcruiser, we’d drag our feet along the grass and dare each other to stretch out and lean further off the back until one of us fell off and landed in the grass only to get up as quick as we could to chase the car and jump back on, only to do it all over again.
One particular night while camping in our little hollow it began to rain. Next thing we know the river began to rise and flood. As quick as we could we threw everything into our car and jumped in. The hill we’d come down was so steep and muddy we couldn’t get back up it. I remember dad bravely getting out in the drenching rain dragging our winch as high up the hill as he could manage while slipping in the clay mud, wind it around a large sturdy tree and make his way back, muddy and soaked to the car. He hopped in and tried to move. Our huge car was sliding back and forth across the side of the incline like a pendulum.
It was a scary and exciting.
I’ll never forget it.
Obviously we survived.
My dad eventually built a little humpy. 4×4 metres a little shack he built himself, my sister and I would carry bucket load after bucket load of water up a hill from the fresh water river to fill the big tub we used to bathe in.
We’d squash aluminium foil around potatoes and roast them in the coals, we’d skewer slices of bread on sticks and toast it over the flames, we’d tell each other stories and roam the land for as long as we wanted.
Whenever we wanted.
We took our kids out into the bush on the weekend. A much tamer version of what I call the bush. And a much tamer experience. But I as I wondered off bare footed on my own for a few minutes while Glen and the kids finished their picnic lunch, I was reminded of all I used to love.
The peace and calm that falls over my shoulders is heavy yet nice. I’m washed clean of stress and the problems of everyday life. The freedom yet exciting dangers of the bush have always appealed to me and I think they always will.
The kids loved it too, they found plenty to do, despite there being no tv, computer games or planned activities to keep them occupied.
I hope the love of the bush and all things natural is in their blood as I know it is in mine.
I found a soft mossy hollow and Buddy lay there happily kicking his feet and looking up into the branches of a beautiful tree. We found interesting bugs and I pointed out a couple of plants that could be eaten, should ever the need arise.
We’d hoped to find a nice waterhole to strip off and have a swim. We found plenty of stagnant pools and hope to return after some rain so we can find somewhere nice to camp and swim with fresh running water.
I find it strange that there seem to be many worlds within the one we live.
There is our ‘normal’ world where cleaning and dressing nice is important, I don’t like this one so much. I’d like my world and my kids world to be open and free and inspiring, exciting and new.
The bush has all of the above.
It is a world where anything goes.
So we had a great weekend. I am hoping we can plan a big camping trip, perhaps not sleeping under the stars while the kiddies are still so little but in a tent, with a camp fire where we have no distractions like tv and computers to take away important time we have together to just talk. I want to teach them how to be careful, respectful and aware of all that is in our world, not just how to tidy their rooms and complete their homework.
I’d like open-minded kids who know as much about their environment as possible.
I think the bush is a beautiful place to start and I wouldn’t mind getting away from life every now and again either!
Go have an adventure!
Explore your surroundings.