I have been missing my blogging. A breezy Saturday morning with stormy weather warnings as I stroll down the path from Sunview East this morning. I saw a familiar figure here last Thursday evening, hovering along the upper walk between the fields now left to meadow, her grey head and slight frame alert above the tall grass, I am drawn towards her and look back pretending to be interested in the rainbow forming over the entrance to the Glen, taking shots of it and peering through my lens whenever she looks back at me. Soon I gather it is E from the lane, sprightly this weather, and after a little dance hither and thither we connected and talked for the first time in many months. The golden Buachalláins are a head above the rest, and E reminds me they are pulled out in farmlands, I remember feeling this way about them too, poisonous ragwort, as I knew it to be. I know them now as Buachailláns, they are important hosts to the Cinnabar moth, both for nectar in adult form and in chomping phase as a ravenous yellow and black stripy grub. The moths lay hundreds of eggs in the lower ragwort leaves and the grubs emerge as a tasty green delicacy loved by birds, as the grubs chomp their way up to the higher reaches of stem the pure ragwort diet builds toxins in their bodies, transforming them to yellow and black caterpillars, now a warning sign which preserves them from being lunch. In August they spin themselves into a cocoon and lie buried in the ground, hibernating until next summer when they will emerge as the red and black beauty we see flitting about the flower heads today. Cinnabar moths are in decline in farmland but here in The Glen we can afford to welcome the Buachailláns and their little worlds. E’s and I’s talk continues about the meadows, the yarrow is showing white in the long grasses and we both approve of this. E’s movements were strange to me and I find out why, she got caught breathless coming up the steep incline some years ago and can no longer enter the deep valley of the Glen and so like the Cinnabar moth she flits the upper reaches when she has the energy.
Today I descend and remember E as the lime tree wooshes its leaves for me on the corner and I drop down past the meadow. I see a lone buachaillán opposite the yellow bench, gifting itself to the empty seat, they could be in aria, it certainly appears to be more of a flirtation than a standoff, the yellows chiming in sympathy across the path. On my way back up I see the path also bears that yellow paint splash, thrown and twining with white, this mark has been there long before either bench or bunch and is held in the divide between them. Later on up I step over the yellow-white-yellow-white hazard sign on the low barrier.
These barely relevant chimings combine to create dynamic co-ordinates in my ever shifting mapping of the Glen.
As ever the Rosebay Willow Herb ….I am on the path seeking a bench mark N has posted from a Glen wall, I enjoy these call and responses on the FotG facebook page, a kind of treasure hunt for Glen walkers. I went in search of some delicate fungi too during the week posted by another walker, both searches are ongoing, the fungi are elusive, though I know I have seen the mark before…
I go to the original meadow on the incline on the Western side and see the flowers reaching for insect life, which is not in evidence, the gusty day may be a factor but I sense the crisis is impacting every day a little more as the Queen Anne lace’s baskets are waving empty.
My shoe laces are undone on the wet brush through the bracken on the way home.