I pushed the clutch down with my left foot and changed up a gear, speeding up the ute.

The cool evening air rushed through the open window and brushed the bare skin of my face and arms. The steering and gear changing was routine as I had been driving since I was ten.  I always thought myself lucky to have grown up on a farm, with so much freedom. Looking over to my dog who sat in the passenger seat with her head out the window, I smiled to myself. Out to the West, the setting sun’s rays lit up the skies into fiery colours that danced in the wind. I pulled up the ute and stepped out.

There I was on the highest hill of our property, looking out across the countryside to watch the sun set and the light fade from the landscape. There were no large areas of flat ground in sight, just hills of various sizes that were in waves across the horizon. It was mid-autumn and from the little rain we had the grass was just beginning to sprout turning the fields from a red-brown colour to a bright green. It looked so incredible, so simple and perfect.

My dog and I sat on a large rock appreciating the world around us. I stroked her soft fur and let my tears fall onto her. This was my brother’s favourite spot on our farm. Since he died in a car crash a year and a half before, I had felt alone. This hill was the only place that my heart felt that I was with him. I missed him so much that it felt as though my soul was being ripped in half. He showed me the beauty of the country, everything from the hot, humid summers to the stormy, green winters. It was because of him I fell in love with this life and this freedom, and that love never left my heart.

My tears soaked into my dog’s fur and I felt her wet tongue kiss my hand. I looked up and saw the sky lit up with more stars that could ever by counted. The sky was like a navy blue sheet that had thousands of diamonds scattered over it. I looked out across the landscape, our house stood on a hill to the North and that was the only building in sight. The paddocks that surrounded me seemed to go on forever. I felt so free in that moment without anything to bring me down or remind me of any pending responsibilities. The world paused, just for a moment and all was silent.

Story by Laura-Kate Dymond     

Editor's Note:
Laura-Kate Dymond is a student at WA College of Agriculture - Cunderdin. She wrote and entered this story in the 2013 ABC Heywire competition. It won her a trip to Canberra next month to take part in the annual week-long youth summit along with about 40 Heywire winners from all around Australia.

ABOVE: Laura-Kate Dymond with her dog and the ute that are part of her ABC Heywire award winning story.