"The country is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
Indeed a year or so earlier, I spotted a be-tweeded figure walking around a field on the other side of the road. His movements were strangely slow and he was clearly communing with a higher power. "What is he doing?" I asked. "He, " replied my friend Andrew who is infinitely more steeped in country lore than myself "is the mole catcher".
It struck me as odd then, as it does now, that a living can be made this way and the odd yet deliberate movements of the mole catcher indicated that he was tuned into the natural world in ways that I couldn't even imagine.
Making a spectacle of death is overlaid in the human domain with much cultural significance, not just the afore-referenced and timely crucifiction at Easter, and I am put in mind of one of my favourite songs "Strange Fruit" which contain the relevant lines.
In truth, I am not certain I have seen a mole in the flesh before. They were somewhat larger and more uniform in size than I would have expected. Their claws are eerily reptilian, creating an ambivalence with the lovable moles in children's literature. However, I inwardly salute all wild mammals who can make a living in the wilds of Angus, especially those that can do it underground. :-)
|"strange fruit" close to Balintore Castle|