A late walk this eve, I enter the Glen long after seven and stroll about the ponds. I take the southern edge, by the family of Swamp Cypresses, heading east – passing the strewn daffodil leaves from Saturday night where that cheeky kid mooned me. I had questioned his friend for ripping up the flowers… and this was his response, something about the flayed daffodil leaves and that rosy sight have gelled in my memory, a cheeky narcissus on the parade of the still bare swamp cypresses.
I circle the ponds and head up to the ridge to watch the sun go down. The Gorse is lit up in the late low light and I look across to see the mysterious ring on the North facing slope. This odd formation lies on a steep incline, midway between two cascades of litter. The ring resides over the point where the Glen river has meandered beneath the path at a favourite meeting point known as The Hatch. There is a low wall here and I am puzzled by its name, I’ve heard of cellars here, perhaps The Hatch was once an entry point into something below. The Hatch now marks a bend in the river where a gridded trap combs the water over a small weir and the water levels change, a place where children used to swim, and now a pair of mismatched Alders preside, they occupy a little triangle hemmed in between rock face and ramshackle wall. This is a thin place the river murmurs. On a warm day I like to lie with my belly on the old concrete above the hatch and sense the river rushing past. After the hatch the river sinks below the path and emerges on the other side swirling around a more imperious and symmetrical Alder before sinking underground directly below the ring. The river resurfaces by the row of not quite dead ivy clad elms before swinging back under the path again and along to where the domed willow creates a safe haven for the blackbirds. This is a spot where the men peer into the water for winnows they hope are heading down stream to their traps.
The ring also looks down on the cul de sac where the council dump all kinds of clippings and cut down vegetation, I’ve seen great rosy cross sections of cypresses here and caught too the scent of pencils from the heap of their massive swirly chunks, now engulfed by their dismembered branches nuts still attached. Here lies the Christmas Tree from St Lukes, a couple of splayed out palm tops and parted trunks, some chopped laurels, the debris gets regularly heaped back by machinery to make way for more, and the most recent offering seems paltry, a silver/green leafed garden tree, vulnerable and visible in the evening light.
The gorse brings me back with its brilliance, I hold a palm of it in my hand and it shines, I hear the buzzing of a solitary bee finding its way inside the bush not bothered by the thorns which I must hold ever so lightly. The sun dips finally now beyond Fairhill and Blackpool, firmly set on its northerly trajectory and the gorse keeps its light for a little longer.