Hopelessly Devoted To Ewe
Picture this: here I am, scooting along the Olympic Highway. Going bush, we call it. Leaving the bright lights of the city far behind and heading for the wide open spaces, of which there are many in this wide brown land.
I’ve just turned off the busy Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. I’ve put about 300 kilometres on the clock and I’ve followed instructions to "hang a left" just after Albury. I’m on the grandly-named Olympic Highway, but it’s really only two lanes, one in either direction.
There’s very little traffic, so I use my peripheral vision to check for possible stop-and-shoot spots where I can safely pull off the road, grab the camera, take a few shots and then drive on again. The road is long but the day is even longer. Easy pace. No need to hurry.
I drive round a gentle curve and there is a flock of sheep, grazing right near a perimeter fence. Above them is a dead, bare tree against a largely blue sky mottled with low white cloud to the west.
Brain says "perfect Outback scene" and then a split-second later it tells me "ideal Camera Critters shot". So I slow down, continue round the bend to where it is safe to see traffic in either direction. Nary a vehicle. So I do a clean, efficient U-turn and drive back to where I saw the sheep. One more deft U-turn and I am right beside the boundary fence.
I grab my camera and get out of the car. My heavy-duty hiking boots crunch on the shale. I am looking down to make sure I don’t trip on the uneven ground. The undergrowth is thick but steady. I negotiate about twenty metres of tricky but not dangerous ground.
Then I look up. The sheep, curse their tim'rous hearts, have scarpered. There is now 50 metres between us. So these shots were the best I could do.
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