‘Look for cinquefoil', you said when I asked you which way to go, 'it grows in the bed of the Linne nan Ribheid, take the spade’ and, somewhat confused by your commanding tone, I set off without comment along the rubble track, at which point a curlew marking out its territory swooped down at me, seeming to contemplate a second attack as it turned, giving me the opportunity to climb over the rickety fence, after which, on the heath, I marvelled at the rushes swaying in the wind, accompanied by a loud bleating – the cottony fluff on slender stems became lambs – and stumbling across the desiccated silvery-white bog moss, which crunched with each step, staring continuously at the battered noses of my wellies (no longer waterproof), afraid to crush abandoned eggs, I heard reed warblers, skylarks and cuckoos, until the lochan appeared between the hills - unexpected nevertheless, although I knew this marshland with Menyanthes, now fringed, among bountiful water lilies, which today were not quietly reflected in the pitch-black water but flapped violently - and bending over I searched the swampy bank, found no corolla or fruit but the jagged foliage, bluish-green with a pink line along the edges, and I knelt solemnly, as if in prayer, took out my tool and pulled up the seemingly-endless roots, thin and white, from the peat.


Miek Zwamborn

translated by Michele Hutchison

code by Niall Moody