Scratch fingers deep into folds of skin, rough affection; tough love for dogfriends. No herds today, just a faraway horse and cart, heading to the woods for fuel collecting. This land is picked clean by foragers; no stray branches or quiet trunks, all is empty, swept. Maybe that's why I can't feel life in the woods, no rotting detritus, thick layers of squirming mulch, rich in damp wriggling rot. The blood of the earth is missing, where is the regeneration, the bacteria blessing, churning death back to life.
There's life but in a different way; heat and cooking for the village gypsy families, survival in a cold winter. To keep themselves alive they take richness from the earth, leaving stony ground and scrabbling trees.