I’m early, before 8, and my mission today is to check out the laurel temples at the back of the Fleischmann place, I want to make sure those branches in the Pencil Factory haven’t come from there, and I was dreading seeing the tyre marks on the way so I meandered a little, I passed the very exposed “badger holes” on the South facing side then trod eastwards along the ponds, checking the white suspension I saw yesterday by the hazel tree. It’s still there and I see two manhole covers on the path, the Glen is full of these, I look closer to the bank in the daylight and see a corrugated pipe among the vegetation, pretty camouflaged until you trace the path of white back to its mouth. The effluent must be coming from The Pyne Valley Estate above the hazel. I make a few mental notes and walk on, and nearly trip over a hazelnut in my path. I accept it as a tribute from its mother for noticing what lies beneath.
I remember the teenage hoots and squeals that were coming from the island last night as I pass on and listen for the hollow sound of the drain from the southern slope, and inevitably check the drain that flows from this side into the pond. The V of the Glen is a channel for all things at its edges.
I have been confused about laurel, the fragrant one for the lentil soup and the Romans is the bay laurel, not at all related to what I will now call Cherry Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus, Labhras silíní, though I am informed that the cherry kind has also been used historically for making laurel wreaths.
I have happy memories of playing in an illicit one in the grounds of a church as a child. Fittingly, as the domed space the laurel contains is temple-like in the way the branches extend laterally from down low on the trunk, close to the ground and parallel forming twists and turns that offer restful seating and perfect alter places, as well as providing vaulted canopies of evergreen leaves overhead. A cherry laurel is an all weather place of refuge and contemplation and very much part of the night time rituals in the Glen.
This is a place where things are claimed back by nature, the rusted iron and woven textiles take on the all encompassing mantle of under the laurel
I step on out and back to reality gently through the Fleischmann residence, graffitti much like the rusty iron, becoming incorporated, and there the strange bending trees that abound in this zone (and appear in the old photo of the Fleischmann house arcing dramatically over, perhaps under the combined influence of Aloys F and Joan Denise Moriarty) then on past the Poplar stump, today clutching an offering, still too bright and new in this environment, the spell is broken and I go home again for another day.
John Feehan waxes lyrical on the Hazel