A couple of weekends ago, I walked through a familiar landscape that rolled and meandered, shimmered lazily with the heat: felt the sun on my neck and spread my arms wide so the breeze could rifle through my shirt like the gentlest of pickpockets.

Then clambered over stiles, skirted a field, kept the dog on a short lead past the sheep, ducked under a hefty branch, lifted the bar for his low-level entrance; following a pattern of actions, a combination code into this place:


Sat on a tree stump to breathe them all in, listen to the buzzards wheeling across the sky. Stayed there until voices off threatened to break the spell, so dog and I wandered off back down through the trees. Me to an afternoon of making bread, reading the paper, tackling the triffids that are trying to take over my garden; him to an afternoon of dozing, scratching and dreaming of chasing rabbits. His sleep-bound yips and snuffles are white noise.


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