The Glen is busy on a full day for me, I slip out for an hour. At the gates there is a garda car and on entering I see a pair of relaxed gards in shirtsleeves laughing and having a chat with a man at the style. I am in woolly hat with pompom, scarf and coat and feel suddenly overdressed, at the same time I see a handknit hat with dinosaur scales is hanging from a slim branch of one of the young trees and realise a child must have felt the same on this breezy spring day.
I arc the bend and there is an unmistakeable vivid green form coming towards me, it’s L the dancer, from the other side of the city, out with her partner, out for a walk – a walk in the Glen for the very first time. Our faces light up as we catch one another’s gaze. We talk, I talk, there is so much to say and L is asking about this place, it comes gushing forth. I want her to know everything at once, to know something of the rich layers and energy of the place, not my place to tell, one must make the discoveries slowly and feel the energy in their own way, but I’m full of it and a little heady from all my day’s busyness and I know there are gaps and chinks anyway. We separate and I move on, looking for space, there are people everywhere and as I stroll around I see many walkers are carrying camera equipment, including an old box “brownie’ camera, dangling heavy from the shoulders of a woman in a posse of three who are speaking a language from the eastern edges of Europe. There are a couple of tripods too on other walkers, The Glen is attracting some keen photographers.
I’d seen a couple of the hunting boys slope out with their dogs while I was with L the dancer, now I find the other half smoking under the oak and looking down into the valley below, their place as much as everyone else’s, before the crowds came. Perhaps the presence of the gards had unsettled them, there were no dirt bikes here today and the absence of that angry sound seemed to make the Glen fuller of other lives going on. I dodged the oak and took the steep path up to the witches’ butter and over into the hinterland where there are trampled stems hollow and bleached out, leaving clumps of empty tubes at ground level. It was exciting to walk on this ground, soft with much decay and crackling underfoot, making soft echoes in the hollows as I move over the surface, layers of crunching and yielding beneath my weight. I was conscious of time slipping by and headed back over the hump and onto the high rise, the boys were now gone from the oak but there was a slipstream about me of men and dogs keeping to the perimeter, the gards definitely had a ripple effect. Here I meet A the writer, and her partner Z, my first time meeting him since they were both participants in the YinYang sculpture project. Z was very complimentary about the snake, still there and quietly used by all. A and I talked maps, meetings and projects before we moved away, making the crossed paths on the high rise. I strolled more quickly now heading home for my 5.30 appointment on zoom.
On the way out I pass the hatch where I had lain yesterday, my belly over the fast flowing waters. Then the entrance to the O’Brien’s Place, noticing not for the first time the twining trees trying to establish themselves. Later I see the heron on the chimney stack where E from Glencree has told me they roost awhile, the man in the mask thought it was unusual.