outward bound: this is personal
and not to yield:
I’m walking up the drive with him, he’s eighteen now and he towers over me, around me – length and breadth – plus he has more hair than a scalp should hold.
Sometimes you look at a boy’s feet and see that they are still bigger than they should be. This is because they grow out first, everything else has to catch up.
Boys and puppies, how they run.
His Facebook page overflows with girls, they are the ones who get to see his smile most often – them, his mother and her mother. I get a punch on the upper arm from time to time, this he learnt from me when he was five. Knucklearm. Later we did Eric Clapton and Neil Young, later still Kooyanisqatsi. For that I got back Dragon Force. This was ok, Larry Coryell and Alphonse Muzon started that guitar caper.
Outward Bound, the old school, he’s going in July and ^ that’s their motto up there – We’re talking today and I’m doing the enlightening. The old boy of Mawson ’63 and Mr Byron Bay 2012. Nothing like a challenge.
This is how it goes I told him.
Nothing to it, they’ll walk you through some impenetrable jungle for about 6 hours, and for lunch, in some hidden valley, you get to cutback the infestations of every giant spike-weed known to environmental science from an old stone farmhouse owned by Wiley George. He’s in Sydney seeing his little lady. She’s been two years in a nursing home and there is much that has left her.
Then you check his water tanks and generators, firewood. We look after Wiley, this is instilled.
This is the walking I told him. Strive to put one foot in front of another whether it be on rock or soil, incline or decline, rough passage or smooth running. The hurt. The wet, the running burst blisters. Knapsack shoulder burn. A thirst born in the deepest flames. Hours when your stolidly downcast gaze flickers with a luminous hatred of the heels of the man in front of you.
The cold dinner in a wet forest where every nighttime beastie needs warm blood.
and not to yield
‘ What if I can’t go on ? he asked
‘ You have to.’
‘ What if I’m sick? ‘
Looking a grandson in the eye – this is eye to eye – is a wonderful thing. This open gaze. This languourous equality.
He won’t be.
July 6th – He’s had 4 nights up there now, 11 to go.