Into the Glen today before 9 am – I love the mornings here .. there are runners and wanderers and dog walkers and the morning is gently growing. I gather some shots of the willow herbs, greater and lesser and a stray solitary Montbresia. I look for apples on the old survivor tree by the well, see none at first, then I spy a single oddly-shapen lumpy fruit in the distance… there must be a cross pollinating partner about, I made a thought to visit the crabs in the lane.
On my return circling of the triangle at the Engineer’s place I see white stars in the ditch, beautiful swirling tendrils with tiny purse trails, softly weaving lyrics over the triangulating stems and spiky burr nodes of the Wood Aven. I find this starry plant is called Enchanter’s Nightshade, a perfect name, creating a moment as I realise where I’m standing, on the corner of the S wall nearby the missing Elm, the one I called Enchantress, or sometimes Witchy Tree, whose form is made ever more present in her absence, burning her shape on the sky, at least to this one, who remembers, each time in passing, her wizened arms making angles at the pond life over the S wall. Spellbinding still. Another name for Enchanter’s Nightshade I find is Witches Grass, not at all a relative of the Deadly kind, but a member of the Evening Primrose family and relative of the Willow Herb. I breathe in the thought that it is somebody’s job to notice things like this, even if no one else will ever know.
These two plants, apart from having having an alliance in spellbinding, are hosts to butterflies and moths….. Another name for Wood Aven is ‘Herb Bennet’ and thought to come from the Latin for a sacred plant ‘Herb Benedicta’, once believed to drive away evil spirits it was hung on doors to stop the devil from entering. The Wood Aven is a food plant for the larvae of the Grizzled Skipper butterfly while The Enchanter’s Nightshade is a favourite host plant of the elephant hawk moth caterpillar.
I think of the other pairings, the Hare’s Paw fungi fruiting in bursts on the shredded remains of the old oak branches lying heaped across the path from her old oak stump – it’s likely there could be mycelia joining them still in a delicate network underfoot, thin as spider’s silk and alive.
As I pass the tangled fringes with flowering nettle heads and layered and leaning levels of growth and decline I realise I’ve been holding this magpie’s feather all along, and I remember my conversation with E, who was lamenting that she hadn’t seen the magpies recently, odd I had thought at the time, as I was aware of many in the tree tops and juveniles on the paths, and now I realise that E’s only access to the Glen was in the upper regions and so her perception is from a different perspective to my own.
Just up the path is the yellow bench still in aria with the now wilting buachaillán on the other side, singing across the divide from football field to meadow land.
Yesterday I was given a gallop around the pitch in a cart drawn by the brave horse, Lady. I sent a bit of eye love to her shackles, grazed from the harness and, though her human assured me she benefits from pulling our weight on the run, I was happier for her after I had climbed down from the trap and she had only half the weight to draw.
Lime tree has a tear like a zip down the narrow trunk, I feel for it, roundup was sprayed at the foot of each tree in this line back in June and the leaves of each tree yellowed and withered, now I see that each of these limes has recovered and there is a big plantain at each tree’s base, I wonder could it be a healing presence….sitting here for a while with the wind in my hair and the wind in the leaves