Nation diary: white seems to be too clear within the ochre smoulder of autumn

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire This gently rotting place, soggy with final evening’s rain and morning fog, muddies itself into winter

A pair of doves settles on the stones, white as pacifist poppies. Maybe they escaped from a loft or dovecote; maybe they turned up individually and located the strangeness of one another in a spot stuffed with jackdaws. They’ve been round for a few years pecking crumbs outdoors the market, cooing from precarious roosts contained in the bed-of-nails pigeon guards on roof eaves, displaying randy shenanigans on the church tower.

Shameless and symbolic, these birds are reclaiming territory on the factitious cliffs of buildings left when rock doves had been turned into pigeons. There are those that see them as pests and perhaps that’s as a result of these individuals discover one thing a bit unsettling concerning the whiteness of doves, as if it’s a niche within the actuality of the world that could possibly be stuffed with one thing else, one thing subversive.

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