Peter pulls off the dirt road and onto a fire track. He edges the 2WD car as far as he feels he can without tempting the gods.
Tiggy darts from the open passenger door and onto his lap, ready, excited, eager.
The moment the door opens, Tiggy is out. There is a rush of fresh air washed clean by the overnight rain. He feels it inside his lungs and then in his bloodstream. The smell of eucalyptus leaves tickles the inside of his nose, recalling memories of past birthdays spent out bush.
Peter gets one night a year to camp by himself and each year Grace buys him just one small addition to his camping equipment. She stuffs it in the boot as he's about to pull out the driveway and he'll find it later when he sets up his one-man tent.
They, as a family, go camping at every opportunity. They'll stake out a claim in whatever camp ground takes their fancy. Sometimes it'll be with friends also with kids similar ages, or it'll be just them, trying out somewhere new.
Just once a year, in the middle of winter, Peter gets to take the weekend closest to his birthday to drive where ever he wants, pitch a tent and marvel that he's made it to the next birthday.
Peter follows the direction Tiggy has gone in and wanders through bracken. The sun is sliding its way over the canopy and soon it'll be dark.
He stands with the last rays of sunlight warming his face. He feels content with how his life is shaping itself. So many things are right in the world.