Friday 15 October 2021

I will lift up mine eyes

 It's about eight weeks since I was tasked to survey and mark three sides of a (400m x 200m) rectangle of our commonage, so that we could cut all the bracken Pteridium aquilinum within the area and none beyond it . . . it's a controlled experiment, like. Well, last Saturday ready or not I had to retrieve my bamboo flags because the cutting season is effectively over.  Conditions were less than ideal; with the clouds capping the top of our hill periodically descending to envelope the lower reaches in gloom. But at least it wasn't raining: so I merely got damp to mid-thigh rather than wringing wet.

As I noted when I put the berluddy bamboos up, I shouldn't have been out on the hill-face on my own with such unsure footing. Especially when the cloud came down enough to obscure the sticks I was looking for. I had to back-track 75m to fetch one I had walked past in the mist. I paused for a breather when progress became futile . . . until the Yaris-sized cylindrical rock, which I had been heading for, reappeared. Beyond the rock through the roiling fog-bank, I could clearly see a large long hummock slashed with diagonal marks. Puzzled, I tried interpreting this as a clump of gorse Ulex europaeus bushes or a large distant ridge. Both wrong, like Frs Ted and Dougal with the cows: it was a smaller rock, closer to.

But the oddest thing happened when the cloud opened out to reveal a glimpse of sunny fields on the other side of the valley. My sense of horizon had been totally fritzed because I found myself having to look up at these fields which kind of canted them into a vertical panorama - most disconcerting. Made me think about pilots flying into mountains while disoriented by cloud. I made it home with 12 sticks having put out 12, so I go closure on that at least.

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