It’s raining a cold March rain as I stand at the Snake awaiting the arrival of A, who is searching for her red wellies… my gaze meanders over the familiar patchwork; circles squares texts and textures…the musical notes, the yinyang, always landing on Vincey Long is a Legend… I remember V the child, back in 2005 carving his clay, a solid kid dense with his own living gravity and lifted by a light humour, I hear he has his own kids now.
It’s a while before I see the crumpled shape of the bin, door swinging and bare metal, the remains of molten matter leaking out and a fresh black bag inside… pushing the door closed I see it is beyond easy repair, it needs a panel beater to get it back in shape, how long? It had a good stretch, it’s been 3 years since the beginning of the pandemic lock down Friday 13 of 2020.
I have been away from my old extraordinary routine. A arrives and we cast off West, unusually. Catching up on our bits and business we barely notice the park go by, meeting J, the dog fosterer, with her 3 legged black spotted lurcher, her doe eyed brindle, and a judgy chiwawa under her arm, she is with another familiar face, and dogs. It’s only as we mount the high ground that we land in the park, walking into our shadows in the evening sun, the weather has cleared and we see the burnings have started, the black scars on the surface bring us home to the rhythms of the Glen. Sadly we move along looking out for surviving trees one sapling rises, with its livid red trunk, more of a stem, we can’t tell if its taken on the colour of the fire, there’s not really enough for us to identify it, there seem to be surviving buds on its skinny branches..looking down we see an abandoned bicycled in the council dumping place, A says she needs a bike, and retracts, her tiny home won’t take another piece, and who would lift this anyway as we know it’s not been left by itself.
Passing more burned patches we see many rising saplings that may have survived among the strong oak babies that have weathered years of the pattern. A takes to the swing, swinging high over everything, gently back and forth in the evening light , her detached shadow rhyming out across the heath, unloosed from her foothold on the ground. we linger a while me leaning up against the mother oak, among her family.
Back down through the gothic zone elders and thorny trees are growing up where the old Golum stump rots down, past the well and onto the path. The mallards show us their rumps as we pass, we see the pretty lilac colour that becomes a sack of poo snagged on the briars and dripping in the evening light.
Passing a couple of Magpies we stop at the bench with its new grafitti, Farsi I fancy, Sri Lankan A offers, knowing we are both wrong, it’s fluid lines red as A’s boots. stop to spend some time with a blackbird its black shape and golden beak so deeply exotic in the bare branches looking back, hungry I imagine, birdsong fills the air. We both stop at the witchy willow, eyes seeking the remains of the young fox in its resting ground, there is nothing obvious, no scent, A sees something under the water but we both know its from the searching the vision comes, gone fox. Into the Fleischmann place A spots a yellow glimmering, daffodils in the woods and as we move towards them there is a lifting and white wing tips, we have disturbed a buzzard, I feel the familiar blessing and all is well. Back along Rope walk we see the other bin has survived a burning, its front face still bears a coat of paint and the lock still holds firm the door.
We are on the home stretch and glide on up the hill full of our experience in the glen and once more lost in mundane conversation until we arrive at the corner and kiss our cheeks goodbye