on bounding

JossNaylor_jumpingwallFields contain and confine. Fields differentiate and separate. Apparently. Those definers (and defenders) of fields have obviously never been to the uplands of the Yorkshire Dales.

For instance, on Horse Head Moor above Upper Wharfedale the stone walls are riddled with (intentional) holes. The gaps protect the walls from wind damage yet contain the herd animals. These divides cry out to be breached, for us polite ramblers this may be via a stile or kissing-gate, for the fell runner it may be with a hearty leap (of faith). And what of the traditional laid hedge? Again, the stock is contained yet the weather permeates the divide, as do the more agile creatures of the field. The rambler, fearing the quickthorn, wisely seeks the gate though.

Of course, these boundaries aren’t just scaled-up versions of the black line on the map either. They are environments in themselves: places to look out from, to nest in, to feed from and it is only the perception of the herd animal that sees them as containers.

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