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Today’s Story: Seeking

Leaving the house I watch for today’s story. Uvie farm is home to many dramas, but like deer on an autumnal hillside, they may be easy missed.

Alice and her calf need feeding at the shed where we’re preparing a floor to move my woodworking machines. The crowing of my new cockerel is a muffled reminder to release him and his two ladies. I watch the sky as I walk the farm road towards the pastured animals: this is what I tell some farm volunteers, often wound round with threads of internal discourse: ‘Look at the sky; something will arrive there soon!”. A flock of jackdaws sweep round the house like burnt wishes. A story may fall, fly.

Down to Angus the young bull, separate from his father, with three cows. Holly, the dun is standing as if sheltering but she is to windward of the shelter – some strangeness within the herd may trigger a communal narrative- I talk to her, stroke her – she is okay. Something unfamiliar flashes along the fence beyond the cattle: a roe calf- shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be away from her mother yet – she is in mortal danger from the Nog. I call him close – walk down the paddock to open the gate, trusting the cattle’s placidity. The fine lithe little animal is running a few paces then lunging headfirst at the fence netting as if to burst through, I work back upfield to drive her towards the open gate – the Nog gives in to frustration and charges – the calf stumbles then springs rhythmically over the lumpy tussocks of marsh grass that hobble the dog. The deer evades us – and the open gate- returning to hiding. I will look for her tomorrow.

Up the road to the house and breakfast – the Nog is on a point, poised rigid into the wind. I shadow him across the tumbled stones of the ruined farmhouse, through the end door, hunting. Something is out there.

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