I like my afternoon walks. I never used to. There was a time when I had to be dragged kicking and screaming out of my door to go for a walk. But not anymore. Of course having two furry alarm clocks appear at 4.30pm every afternoon at my feet with expectant looks on their faces is a big motivator. Dogs are great walking machines.
So, we were tramping through the bush the other day, and I was deep in thought with the usual philosophical meanderings eg: “Who would make the better wife, Samantha from Bewitched, or Mrs. Brady, or, Mrs. Robinson from Lost in Space?” I was debating the pros and cons of each candidate when I looked up and saw a path to the side of the track that I’d seen before but never gone down. It was a faint path, barely noticeable in fact, but a trail nonetheless, “Wonder where that goes?” I thought, and almost instantly decided, “Let’s find out!” So off we went, me and two little dogs.
The male dog was off like a shot, sniffing and snuffling the ground ahead, “He’ll be useful if ever I need to clear a path of landmines,” I thought. The female dog was nowhere to be seen, I looked behind, around, and ahead, and I couldn’t see her. It was only when she licked my ankle that I looked downward. Ok, so she isn’t exactly the explorer type.
We trudged along for a while, with me stumbling over a terrified little dog every now and then, until the path petered out. I shrugged and pushed on into the trackless bush. There we were in deepening dusk, in the middle of the bush. It was quiet. I stood for a moment savouring the peace, the smells, and the feeling of being surrounded by trees. Both dogs took the opportunity to relieve themselves. Good thinking.
It struck me that this was the sort of environment that the aborigines knew. Nothing but trees and peace. How good would that be? Imagine living off the land like they did. Your home, is anywhere, anytime. No work, no money. Bliss. Might be something in that lifestyle…
Ok, they wouldn’t have sandshoes, so broken toenails would be a daily occurence, no electricity means no lights after dark, or running water piped to your house which means no comfortable toilets, and no hot water either!
Then there’s medical treatment. No headache tablets, for starters, then appendicitis would be a bit of a bugger to put up with, along with tooth ache, a slipped disc, or a broken limb. In fact there was a raft of illnesses and ailments that we almost laugh at these days that could bring about a fairly speedy end to someone living in the scrub without access to a doctor, or a hospital.
No air travel, no railways, no large ships… it was at this point the whole idea started to lose its’ gloss. I made my way through the bush, pushing on through a couple of gullies until I found a familiar track and followed it home. The back deck light was shining brightly through the trees and I could see my family gathered in the kitchen. Yep, this is more like it. The call of the wild will have to remain unanswered for the time being. Domestic man had returned home for another night of comfort and pampering.