Today there was a young heron in the egret’s spot, she was not too bothered by me and didn’t engage in any games of hide and seek, knowing her place and wading about it, busily piercing the surface of the water with her long beak.
I head Westwards along the Northern bank of the pond and along the edges of the footpath I find a mossy nest with a perfect opening, it is striking to be in such plain view, I wonder about its inhabitants, are there any present dwellers, perhaps new come squatters? Or has it been abandoned by far off emigrants….who may one day return? Further along there are offerings of apples cored and looped over branches by kind walkers for the birds, mixing up seasons and fruits with the trees’ skeletons. In the distance, the morning light bounces golden off the upper walls of the prison perched on the hill.
I was drawn again to looking closely at the skin of the trees, enjoying the soft pitted greens and striated brown and tans and even finding something in the growth that looks like text – uppercase cleavages in the lichen.
Moss more vivid and lichen greying, on the surface or silting up the gashes and wounds in the bark: mosses and lichens seem to be on friendly terms, each taking up position and forming spots that appear convivial yet self-contained.
And on the smoothest barks are traces of ivy paths meandering upwards, made visible by the moulds that accrue in the traces of its leggy reaches, the ivy now stripped away, perhaps by a zealous Glen walker (there are a few of us with various agendas).
The dark bark weaves across the trunk of a cypress and I see the way it is built for expansion, and shedding. In the ground the roots are spelling out signs or, it seems to me, balancing equations – somehow I’m reminded of old currency, shillings and pence archaic now but embedded in the memory, perhaps this tree is as old as me.
I meander to the Fleischmann place, and there is a theatrical presence, where new trees make a chorus to the fore of the platform, a concrete square that is, for now, bare of trees and is all that has become of ‘the cottage’, an image ghosts in my imagination above this footprint, of a mock tudor frontage shadowing and confusing the present tree forms. There are other structures, revealed now in the thinned undergrowth, like bared traps. And something that may have been more a more playful construction suspended between the bellies of the trees. Walls are less substantial than plants here, whose rooted vigour gives them an obvious gravitas.
Exiting I see two dark fairies dancing in the river in the place where the ivy clad sentinels keep watch.
Moving out along the riverbank the silhouettes of trees are making their own of sky and understory.
A tree seems to be crying from one of its multiple eyes, or possibly a leaking breast, at any rate it’s the place it lost a limb.
I reach the Gothic quarter, finding steps and platforms here too, I know from the Friends of the Glen that it was the place of the O’Brien Family – now the peripheral cornering fence post forms a solitary figure on the winter stage.
I cannot resist the pull towards the dismembered Cyprus in the back-alley of the park, itself cracked like a giant broken pencil, I see it has company now, a palm looking very raw, also cut down from a healthy state of being somewhere in the outskirts of the Glen.