There is a saying. “You can take the man out of the bush; but you can’t take the bush out of the man!” I have been fortunate to live most of my life on or surrounded by land. In my primary school years I grew up in the lower Blue Mountains with the national park for my backyard. It was an explorers delight. There were a number of small caves to explore, rock ledges to climb and a variety of creeks to jump over.
During the beginning of my High School years, we moved to Thirlmere where my parents bought a five acre property. There I was able to build a cubby house down the back – which we name the shack. It was like a shanty home. With a fire place, table, and even bush bunk beds. The neighbour behind us had a large dam – where in the warmer weather you would frequently find me swimming or yabbying. Beside us was another larger farm with a dam and there I could get lost for hours on end, hunting rabbits with the dog or just wandering around with Clive who owned the property. Behind his property was another farmer who I soon got to know and so I would frequently be meandering around from one property to the other…great fun.
My grandfather also had a large property of a couple of thousand acres, where we would go a couple of times a year. There my brothers and myself were taught to fish, camp and hunt. Because of my love for the land and animals, it was only natural for me to work on local farms. Over the years I worked on a variety of market gardens, cattle and dairy farms, with a stretch of rural fencing thrown in. In between those jobs I also worked in building supplies, transport and security – while gaining a deeper sense of God’s calling into pastoral ministry.
A number of years ago I was working on a dairy farm part time, while also studying for a degree in theology…there I collapsed due to a virus, paralysed on the right side and hospitalised for a few months. The result of this four years later is that I am no longer able to do that kind of physical work, in which I was used to. That in itself is not a problem, as I feel God has called me out of that and into other areas of ministry.
I have however deeply missed being able to explore the bush, jump the creeks and climb the hills and scale the rock ledges. Today I had the pleasure of being shown a local camping / picnic ground which is about 40 minutes from home. It’s called Burralow Swamp / Creek at Kurrajong. There we took our time ambling down the 4wd trail to the bottom of the valley and took a short walk along the creek which led to a small waterfall and which also is home to glo-worms.
They say that pictures tell a thousand words…what can I say – the company was great, the weather was great and for a few hours I felt like I was miles away from civilisation…in other words the day was great.