May has been cold, it’s like you can feel the arctic in the air, rain or shine, but mainly a mix of clouds and patches of blue. I was occupied with Glen things today.. a proposal I’m trying to help on its way to restore the waterway at the hatch, a sweet proposal that incorporates memories and the sharing of stories. The hatch hatching. The man who proposes it knows the place well, grew up there and has a view from the 1960s on, a time when swimming was done here by young people and families, a legend in its time for Cork’s north siders. The Glen is a magnet for youth and young people having formative experiences, a changeling place to escape to and be found. I left and it was cold but that particular light, and the shelter offered by the Glen on its East/west axis was inviting, and warmer than my garden. It gets me every time, I have braced myself to be out and then through the gate I am softened by the magic, greens that are lit up from the inside and air that stills a space around everything. Today I was thinking about tomorrow’s meeting with the students – I followed our path wither shins and wondered if I ought to gather things as ‘visual aids’ I picked an alder leaf and pocketed it knowing things are more invested than this and I would be pushing an agenda that must be felt. So round I go, to the Fleischmanns and the soft dark earth alive with sprouting things and the sound of the river. Back over the bridge and my head is in the clouds I double back to see the spurge and marvel at its clean green precision of form and colour gradient to the golden top brachts, it’s lush, almost too much so. Greta is between the bridges. Past the benches and the sycamore grove, stopping at the hazel , thinking again of the students and the story of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the 9 hazelnuts and the salmon of knowledge, I bite my thumb wondering if this tale would make any impression on your average 13/14 year old. Up past the well to the ridge and I can hear the girls already at the swing, it has become a magnet for them. Two are crouching under the tree as the third dangles louche from the branch.
From the top of the ridge I watch the girls reluctantly share the swing with a child but hover around the foot of the oak putting him off his game. In my mind’s eye I notice the gathering of burnt gorses I call the witches, I wonder how much the boy’s father can bear in this engagement. I pass along the ridge and down the tussocks past the cage and onto the road home. 3 familiar lads are coming towards me and one roars up to the swing on the ridge ‘eyebrows‘ – I calls her eyebrows he says unnecessarily, and taken with it they all shout up at her now ‘eyebrows’, she yells back ‘ya ugly ginger c***’ and I feel the power in the names, they make something identifiable that may be harnessed. (this was the red haired boy who a while back mooned me while his pals tore out the daffodils) and home I go.