Snow drift, woodland path, deer gralloch.

If we hadn’t stopped to help a car driver, bottomed out on a snowdrift. If we had walked past or walked faster.

We chose the more sheltered woodland paths, because the wind that had caused so much snow to pile up in drifts, was cutting cold and fierce. Over half way round our meandering loop we met a family group with dogs. They were brisk and tence and had been using a dog whistle. And we could hear they continued to do so as we progressed on our walk.

Nearer home than away, we saw a young alsation trying to get over a sheep fence – two rows of barbed wire at its hight. I guessed it could be this dog that was being summonsed by the whistle, it was distressed and agitated. And then I saw a deer on the snow…

It was apparent that the alsation had only just killed the deer and was now fretting to get back to its owner, who at that moment appeared from the woods. Together, we helped the dog over the wire and I asked if she wanted to do anything with the deer. No way…

So we dragged it home and did the job of gralloching, skinning and butchering. It took three hours, but felt right on a couple of levels. Not to leave the dead deer to rot and waste and to challenge ourselves to the task of dealing with the carcass.

It’s not art what we did, but the walk reminded me of an art piece. Shed Boat Shed, by Simon Starling. To walk and be willing to engage with things that you come across, unquestioningly. To see a car stuck and to help dig and push, that slowed our progress – so all things become part of the journey, planned and unplanned. Like painting, when I start with an intention, but allow diversions and changes on route in order to effect a solution.

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