Day 138 | Sawpit Creek bushcamp: love those waterholes

33 km | Heading west total: 6,192 km

Michael Jackson was only a bit older than me so his death this week has a certain resonance. (The other 2 famous performers born a just few weeks earlier than him, Madonna and Prince, are still kicking on.)

Somehow it made me rather reflective of the passing on of others of my contemporaries from school.

The first, Miff, all round good guy, in my group of 5 for the Mataki leaders course I went on in my last year at school and who was the dux at Nelson College, fell on Mt Rolleston when I was living at in Christchurch. Hamish from my class and rugby team died the same way in the same place almost exactly a year later. John, from Invercargill and in many of my practicals in my first year at Uni in Dunedin died of a brain tumour. Geoff, the most liked guy in my year at boarding school, was killed in a car crash. Bill, one of 4 guys at Rutherford in my final year jumped off the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Gary, also occasionally in my class, had died in a car crash the year after we left school. Rowan, a little guy, in my prep class died. Nigel, in all my high school classes, died of a drug overdose I believe. The fab Richard drowned in a Himalayan river, his younger brother had earlier died as a pedestrian. The likeable Michael, my partner’s youngest brother, died in a car crash. And CJ’s old boy friend, Tony, who I can’t really claim as a close friend committed suicide.

It’s a terrible roll call of great guys and I guess it’s shaped me fundamentally: life is for living because it may end in the most untimely way.