Conservatinist-Tramper’s Book a Great Read

“Bushline – A Memoir” by Robbie Burton, published by Potton and Burton, price $39.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman.

Robbie Burton a partner in the Nelson publishing firm Potton and Burton, grew up in Nelson and from an early age, became obsessed with the surrounding wilderness areas of nelson Lakes, Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks. He then became an environmental advocate with the now defunct Native Forests Action Council before getting involved in publishing. And Potton and Burton publish very classy books, frequently on an outdoors theme.
The book is an engaging account of Robbie Burton’s life and his deep attachment to the wilderness landscapes plus his entrance into the world of publishing. 
The author reflects on his life in the outdoors, as a conservation advocate and as a tramper who just revels in being in the hills.
Why do people love being outdoors subject to the elements of rain, wind, snow and the often extreme exertion of slogging a hill, perspiring and panting? “Why intentionally put yourself through so much suffering? Why do this for fun?” asks Robbie Burton.
He writes there are some obvious answers. “At the top of the list is simply the chance to get out in the wilderness – it is no small thing to live with awe and wonder for days at a time.”
But there are other intangibles too.
“A sense of purpose and accomplishment when you complete a tramp; the chance to enjoy a more simple, pared-back life and often to build strong, sometimes intimate bonds with your companions.”
But it goes deeper than these benefits.
“The more fundamental answer that rings true to my experience comes out of a strand of contemporary psychological research which asserts that the most meaningful experiences in life are those that are emotionally extreme. These can be either positive or negative, but either way, it is the intensity, in combination with the contemplation and reflection they encourage, which builds meaning in life.”
Robbie Burton write “this is near-perfect description of the impact tramping and mountaineering have had. Tramping with its extreme contrasts, its highs and lows, is nothing if not intense.”
“On any one day in the hills the experience can swing from exhausting, fearful, cold and wet suffer-fest, to the opposite, the simple pleasure of easy travel in a beautiful environment.”
Today the author enjoys sharing the outdoors and wilderness with his family.
He especially appreciates being able to bring up our children in Nelson where he can take the kids to the river to the same swimming holes his mother loved, or plodding up Mt Robert in the Nelson Lakes National Park, or the Abel Tasman National Park or being on the beach in the low evening sun. 
“It has been a remarkable experience to watch my own children fall deeply into the thrall of this place,” he reflects on again being at Torrent Bay in the Abel Tasman National Park where the “days unfold without structure, the choices to be made simply where to swim or walk, when to eat or drink, when to lie around or read—.”
 “Bushline” is very much a personal memoir, which any good Kiwi guy or gal will find an affinity with. Consequently the book is a warmly  absorbing read. Highly recommended.

This entry was posted in Home. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 80 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here