Garret tossed back the cover. He climbed from his bedroll.
He pulled on his boots after he'd checked no animals had made their home in them during the night. His stomach grumbled from hunger. Garret rolled up his bedroll. He placed it with his gear then went to stoke up the fire to boil the billy. Cook some breakfast.
A kookaburra's laugh echoed from high above in an old blue gum. He welcomed in a new day. Wisps of smoke rose from the fire to mingle with the morning mist. A flock of noisy gullahs chatter away while they searched for feed. Pride. Garret's stallion grazed a short distance from the camp.
Another night spent out in the open. Garret enjoyed communing with nature. Garret smiled. He planned to be home by tonight for a long, hot shower. He been having dips in the cool, running water of the creek. He had been riding the boundary fence line for the past week. He loved going out on the long rides. To listen to no other sounds than that of nature. Listen to the birds chorus in the trees. Search for any changes to his property. He felt liberated from his daily grin of chores.
Garret saddled his horse. Stowed his gear to the saddle ready to move out. He patted his shirt pocket to be sure he hadn't lost his notebook. He'd recorded all of the places needed attention by his workers. The sun rose above the trees in triumphant splendour warning of a hot day.
Around noon. Garret crossed the river which divided parts of his great spread of land. He encouraged, Pride, up the bank on the opposite side of the river. Ambling along on the horse through the tall grass, Garret soaked up his surroundings. His mind drifted from what he was suppose to be doing. The tail of the horse flicked a tree. The flick sent a squadron of ants to rain down over both of them.
Pride whinnied from the ant bites. Garret tried to brush the ants from his clothes. Horse. And rider. Charged madly across the dry, dusty ground, trying to rid them of the biting pests. Trees brushed past at speed. Except speed. And wind didn't help. Pride bucked. Shivered when he reached open ground. Garret went sailing through the air to land heavily. And awkwardly. On the ground.
With all the will he was able to muster. Garret tried to stand. He couldn't put any weight on his left leg. He slowly dragged his body to a shady place to wait. He guessed Pride wouldn't stop his flight until he reached the homestead. He prayed someone would telephone for a search party. Or he'd be spending another long, painful night in the bush. Exhausted from pain. Sleep finally claimed him. The noise from a land helicopter woke him.
“You should have taken that holiday,” his friend joked, Garret stared at him in confusion. What holiday. He hadn't planned a holiday. “What have you done to yourself?”
“Broken my leg. Do you have any water?”
“Sure. I'll grab it from the chopper.” The friend went away for the water. He radioed for help.
“Here's some water. Don't drink too much.” Garret handed over the canteen. “Help is on the way. What happened?”
Ants. They took exception at being disturbed from their mission. Did pride arrive home safely?”
“Yeah. He's in better shape than you.”
Soon another helicopter arrived. The men put a splint on Garrets leg before carrying him to the helicopter to be flown to the nearest hospital.
On one bus trip these tales were told.
Bus Driver: I ordered a crocodile sandwich the other day. I told her to make it snappy.
Passenger: We had terrible trouble with crows when we were on the farm. We were forever chasing them from the crops. Father caught one. He painted it white. Let it fly away to join the flock. The flock took off with fright. They didn't want a white bird with them. The white crow followed. The closer it came the faster the flock flew to get away. We were happy. The crows never returned.