Matthew said he needed to trim a rickety hornbeam that was overhanging and threatening the welfare of a fence he's replacing- and I visualised the operation as a tasteful pruning. Well, he's done it now- and trimmed the tree right back down to the ground.
Leaving a naked stump.
"It'll grow back" he says cheerily. "Only we'll need to put a fence round it so the horses don't eat all the new growth."
Our fences are insubstantial things- but what a difference it makes when they are taken down.
The effect is psychological rather than visual. Visually these fences of ours are insignificant- walls of air- a few verticals and a few horizontals with landscape in the gaps- but psychologically they dominate the scene. They stand for property, boundaries, thine and mine- here you may go and there you m'ain't.
Simon and his assistant are renewing the fences between us and the neighbours' meadow and just for today there's a break in the line. There used to be two fields, now there's a prairie. Everything feels so different. I stepped over the now invisible boundary with the sense of doing something mischievous- anarchic even- not that the neighbours would mind in the least...