September 7, 2017

As I so boldly declare in the programme note I prepared for the piece I have written for Cassini’s funeral, I am in love with Cassini. My zefriend calls her my space-girlfriend, and I am her terrafriend, awfully close to the earth, perhaps even elbow deep in the earth itself, turning sods and pulling out bracken roots. It is a reference to Ursula Le Guin’s sci-fi novel The Left Hand of Darkness, but I try not to think of the painful implications, of the enormous distance between my world and hers, even if we did share the same planet for a brief few years. 

By coincidence, in the course of writing about Cassini’s final days and thinking about her impending demise, I actually learned to use both a scythe and a sickle. It’s quite a good way to grieve, swinging an enormous blade in broad crescent moons, hacking down thick stems of bracken. Clouds of midges rise up to meet you, but you don’t care, because you’re furious, and sad, and hacking down these plants with this piece of wood and met...

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