Wetness

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The moor is groaning with water. I flush a dozen snipe as I walk at last light through mushy pans of moss and grass. They rush away into a chart of stars, and then I am in the woods where the trees are cool and tangy. Here the undergrowth is crackling with thrushes; redwings and the first fieldfares hunker down in the treelands which drip and tip with the weight of the fallen rain. There is some pull to this place, and the newly arrived birds clatter into the fallen bracken year after year where the birch trees leak like trailing taps and soon grow naked.

I am almost at the safety of home in a growing swell of moonlight when lapwings come in a flaring hum, lit up by light from the kitchen window. The electric bulb dabs them in glitter as they pass through the yard at head-height. They are brisk and single-minded like a covey of grouse and they race and turn and head for the low ground where the mist bleeds up from the busted burn and curlews rasp in coarse, answerless questions.

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