It smells of wild garlic. It’s an acrid, almost burnt scent, but it’s got a permeating subtlety that lingers in the background of all the other smells in the air. We are in a copse on the other side of Jennings’ farm, the one over the metal gate and across the small bridge, there’s a high risk of ripping jeans/jackets/jumpers and my hands have that weird mix of steel and fresh air you get from countryside metal.
Once we pick our way through the woods the garlic dissipates and I breathe in – fresh grass? – it’s lovely. The ground is uneven and my left foot goes through a mushy hollow spot; my stomach drops and panic sets in as I remember that sometimes wasps make nests underground. I don’t think they’d react well to a big foot crashing through their ceiling. I stand still for a few seconds like I am stood on a landmine (if a wasp nest isn’t nature’s idea of a weapon I don’t know what else is) before wincing and lifting it up and nothing happens so I walk on a few steps and completely forget the entire incident.
I break into a briskwalk/lightjog to catch you up. You have cleared the corner and I can’t see you when I clear the corner until you jump out from some bushes behind me and try to scare me, it doesn’t work but I act like it did so I can playfully push you, your denim jacket feels coarse and rough. You ask how much further – we’re almost there.
We come out of the woods and see the stone wall holding the water at bay along the top of an incline. There’s a field of sheep inbetween us and where we’re going so we have to walk along the parallel footpath until we reach the stile. There’s an (oak?) tree that has grown more outwards than upwards here so when I climb the stile I have to duck to avoid its branches but the leaves still brush against my forehead, when I reopen my eyes after making it over I am in a vast open space. I appreciate nature’s heavy-handed metaphor.
I help you down from the stile and tell you we are here. We walk up the hill and boost ourselves onto the granite walls to get a better look, the mix of gravel and concrete leaves small pockmarks in my palm. There’s a cool breeze blowing towards us across the water. We are holding hands.