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The sunset field, the dawn field – exposed, yet a haven, threats visible on all sides. There they gather, fifty or so, huddled, mostly calm. Three stags among doe and fawn, and one pale juvenile: an outlier kept safe amid ash and chestnut siblings. There they rest, sniffing and scratching the earth; under sun dogs, contrails and cirrus; awaiting nightfall – the chance to roam.
The church stands apart from the village, a remnant of its old centre to the south and west. Old ways still lead there, seldom trodden, through bog and coppiced copse. One comes to a clearing among aged trees. Wildflowers, and birches, arranged as if columns holding up a vaulted sky. This is nature’s nave: a soundless place.
This field lies seemingly abandoned: too impractically-shaped for the efficiency of farm machines. The many grasses grow tall when sun follows rain, when deer make their beds, and all the clearer are the lines made by badgers. From the witches’ stones to the descending hollow, and up toward the warren by the seasonal brook: All trace back to a hole in the ground at the centre of the field, the home of badgers unseen. Much better to avoid canines and their humans, and wait for dusk, when nature’s introverts roam.
Made a playlist of select tracks from stand-out albums of hip hop’s early-90s golden era (give or take). Here’s a Spotify playlist, but if you prefer another platform, here are the tracks, along with the artists and the LPs they appear on. Each of these is a jumping off point to an excellent album:
- Beastie Boys – Shake Your Rump (Paul’s Boutique)
- A Tribe Called Quest – Buggin’ Out (The Low End Theory)
- N.Y. State of Mind – Nas (Illmatic)
- Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)
- Raekwon – Ice Water (Only Built 4 Cuban Linx)
- KMD – Get-U-Now (Black B*******)
- Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause (It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back)
- Ice Cube – The ***** You Love To Hate (AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted)
- GZA – 4th Chamber (Liquid Swords)
- Brand Nubian – Brand Nubian Rock The Set (In God We Trust)
- Queen Latifah – Rough (Black Reign)
- Masta Ace Incorporated – The Mad Wunz (SlaughtaHouse)
- Mobb Deep – Shook Ones, Pt. II (The Infamous)
- Electric Relaxation – A Tribe Called Quest (Midnight Marauders)
- Pete Rock and CL Smooth – All The Places (The Main Ingredient)
Note: Casual MF DOOM fans may like to listen out for his pre-DOOM guise Zev Love X as part of KMD on track 6.
No one’s quite sure who built the cone spire by the tall bur. Its timber frame appeared one day, as if surveying the lands from this highest point. With each visit, more interwoven branches, added at the expense of sky. Then, deterrence in the form of a locked gate in the perimeter fence. Soon after, adjacent, a low cairn appears. No doubt, then, that this is a place of sadness. Final confirmation comes in the shape of written memorial, a eulogy to a fallen servant. A remembrance in the landscape noticed mainly by crows.