Here’s a piece I wrote at the very start of the MA, in October 2021. The brief was, after a visit to the Ham Wall nature reserve: write from a non-human perspective.

Meet Peat

Spend much time here and I’ll get under your skin. OK, under your fingernails. I haven’t been around several thousand years without learning how to leave my mark: a muddy mark, most like. Sorry about that. I’m a mucky old sod.

Once I was pale and reedy, waving about in the breezes like that lissom lot over there. I miss that, sometimes, feeling the wind through me, riffling my tips. I went through a willow stage, too – grew out of it eventually. Or did they did grow into me? I’d do one of those tests if I could, see where I really come from, what I’m made of. The memories are in there, just buried deep. Millennia deep. I’ve buried other things, too – treasures, and bodies, and secrets, and a child’s toy, so tiny and precious.

Those first people, they never carried me far – just over there to where their little home was, used me for a fire. Then more came, and more, and the shovels got bigger. Then diggers: ripping me up and for what? Golf courses, and gardens! Half the county’s had a bit of me.

So it makes a nice change to be left where I am, to be looked after, just a bit of mesh here and there to stop me drying up and blowing away. There’s just the one digger now, and soon they’ll be gone. You always are.

Most days, despite all those feet, paws and wheels, you’re just a tickle, but something funny happened last week: one of you bent down, grabbed a handful, smelt me up – and then chucked me back down! She won’t get rid of me that easily, though, I went home in her turn-ups.

No, she won’t forget me in a hurry.