Country diary: a walk before dawn on a moonless path

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Sandy, Bedfordshire: My feet swish through leaves and I’m conscious of many missteps, slight stumbles over roots and slides into dips

In dark December, so many walks traverse the fold between night and day. A yearning for unpeopled landscapes sends me out before dawn, past houses of spent Christmas with winking fairy strings and tinselled porches, down to the water’s edge.

Sometimes, I encounter moving lights, the bob-bob nod of a jogger’s head torch, or the zigzagging coloured collar of a dog that sees with its nose. But I always go unlit, with only my stretched senses and imagination for company.

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