Clouds hung like black sacks as I squelched across sodden fields today. The forecast was for heavy rain and when the Pennines were erased from view, I knew that time was short. My two dogs, Lottie and Snoopy ranged ahead, ever alert for lazy squirrels or limping rabbits. Their optimism is impressive when you consider their kill count is zero, five years of feverish expectation, the hunt , but never the kill.

It wasn’t just the dogs that were hunting this afternoon, I too was on the trail of something. A familiar scent from more youthful days, hung in the air and I was bound to follow. The sweet musty cling of burning cannabis mingled with moistening molecules, static before the brewing storm. I breathed deep, remembering my first, when I lit the wrong end of a joint and burned my nose to a blister ( Perranporth 1979 ). The scent grew sweeter, stronger, more smokey and there were fresh boot prints in the mud of the path. Where the path went between thick bushes fresh smoke trailed and as I cut through , he was there, sitting on a low bough between two ponds. An old man, perhaps 75 years, puffing away with a mongrel at his knee. We talked and he told me that the trees were infant diamonds and that the branches that stretched across the murk of each pond will, in time, become diamonds. Then showed me the shape of a naked women lounging high in a tree.

Sadly our dogs were less attuned and as the first fat drops of the storm began to fall, I took the offered toke and walked home at a different angle.


Trailing fragrant smoke

from an old man smoking dope

on a muddy walk.

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