From Inside the Hedge


Tootsie is a battle-hardened, flame point Siamese. He is the only cat I allow outside, or rather, he’s the only cat who insisted on going whether or not I agreed.

He spends a lot of time hanging out in the hedgerow that separates my 4 acres from the empty lot next to the highway. The Northside of my property backs up to an old rail trail with the East side lining up with the neighbouring pasture. All that space, yet whenever I see him, he’s bounding out from the hedgerow.

Hedgerows are often associated with witches. In ye olden days the weirdo that you visited to score some herbs was expected to be found isolated outside town, beyond the hedge. Or so they say. It’s a liminal space, a place between places which are convenient locations for working with the wyrd.

Judika Illles has this to say about the connection between witches and hedgerows, in her book The Weiser Field Guide to Witches: “Witches thrive in the liminal zone. An old Northern European name for witch is hedge-riders. Once upon a time, massive hedgerows divided villages from forests. Witches were believed to perch on these hedgerows, thus living simultaneously in the civilized world and in wild nature.”

I have no plans to ride atop my hedgerow, but it is an interesting spot to sit with my cat and listen to the wind rustle through the trees while water flows under the road and into the Annapolis River.

Do you have a hedge nearby that you can explore? If so, what kind of plants do you find there?

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