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Bit of a Crush

Richmond Park an hour before sunset, pools of light on the city, tracks of the sun glowing red in the long grass. We were a motley crew, one of us training his puppy, one of us hunting psilocybin mushrooms, one of us picking deer poo for shamanic ash, and me.

I had got there earlier, by myself, and met the king who stole my heart. The fallow bucks were springing around Richmond Gate, but he was a big red stag, easily ten tines on his antlers. I tried to photograph him, but my camera just couldn't capture his magic, so I sat really close to him instead, and he let me.

With the others, there was too much laughter, not to mention the presence of doggy jubilation, for him to stay nestled in the grass, so he stood there posing for monarch of the glen style photographs none of us were skilled enough to take. His posse were all around him, including one doe who looked at us with utter Princess Anne 'Why-don't-you-just-naff-orf' style disdain. Clearly private life has become unbearable since Autumnwatch.

An old guy watching them all told us that this year has been the worst in 25 he has seen for deer rutting. The boys try a bit, but the girls aren't interested. Maybe the season hasn't started yet, on account of the bizarre weather. We saw a couple of stags clash horns in practice, but it was clear their hearts weren't in it. We waited for moonrise and got cloudburst instead. I quite like rain at night, the trees all blending into shadows. Soaked to the skin we left the park, and saw the moon, breaking from the black to point us at a nearby pub. Just as we left, I saw the notice on the gate warning that the cull will begin in the park on 5th November. Of course.

I would love to go somewhere just once, where human beings are not engaged in the act of destruction. When I was by myself, two youths wandered past, trying to scare the deer. They stopped because I got my camera out and pointed it right at them. I honestly want to give their parents the long slow handclap for creating such pointless nonentities.

It would be so wonderful to be well again, and to that end I have stopped myself from getting too involved with certain campaigns. I am worn out with hearing about badger culls, deer culls, dolphin drives, laboratory tests, battery farming... I backed away from it via social networking, only to find it in Richmond Park. Wherever you find an animal, seems like there's someone nearby fingering a knife or a gun or a hypodermic. I fear for the beautiful 10 tined champion, and am sick to the back teeth of human beings.



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