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For those new to upland life, the term afield can have sort of deliberately anachronistic, affected ring to it. It's just not a word that's otherwise commonly used. In the most general sense, it's interchangeable with "in the field," but there are some slightly different connotations.

First, just to get more comfortable with saying and hearing the word, don't forget how often we use similar forms: adrift, aloft, afloat, amidst, atop, abreast, and so on.

So, what's the difference between being out in the field with your dog, and being "afield?" The term tends to convey purpose. When you're actually out to hunt, or running a dog in an event, or deliberately and purposfully training - you're afield.

The word conveys preparation and purpose, and while using it can feel a little forced conversationally, it always seems to work well when written, and carries with it a sense of history. When you're afield, you're connecting yourself to all of those who've gone before you with the same objectives and history. Saying the word out loud, in that context, actually helps to focus the mind on the circumstances and challenges ahead as you stroll into the cover behind your dog. For some reason, saying "I'll be spending this afternoon afield - it's grouse season!" feels, as it should, better than, "Honey, I'm going to go run the dogs so they'll leave me alone this afternoon when the football game is on."

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