Half-light. Late September. A field. An hour before dawn. Tiny insects bombard my head-torch, looping-the-loop across blacks, greys and silhouettes except where the torch picks out dried stems, withered leaves and brittle seed-head caskets. Few are taller than my knees. No sign of what I am seeking. I continue walking, sweeping the torchlight in slow arcs, searching, conscious that each second is bringing dawn closer.

This is private land. I do not have permission to be here. If caught, I risk imprisonment and fines I cannot afford.

It takes several anxious minutes before the first small, ghostly ...


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