I go back to the rowan to see the oyster and if there are any lingering berries, I have a recollection of seeing them on a single living branch in the autumn, today I see berrries on the branches of the neighbouring hawthorn and I’m not sure now, this little tree looks completely exhausted and yielding to its fate. The Hawthorn and Rowan flank the empty pedestal where the most part of the oyster flesh is strewn, I gather up a piece and I’m surprised by its heavy and limp life form, and I’m reminded of the slabs of tripe laid out in the English market, there are tiny black creatures meandering about the gills. I gather piece by piece and lay them one on top of the swollen other, heavy-limp and grey-beige, I am certain I want to remove them from this careless scattering, though not sure where to remove them to; they seem most at home in the long grass where they are merging with the other life forms here, it’s all so open in the human thoroughfare of the park and I’m saving them from another kicking. I end up tucking them into the side of the pedestal, still in view but hopefully with a kind of nestled integrity that offers some protection from attack. As I do this I find more bits of flesh ground into the gravel path and right up to the base of the trunk, I look up and see the remaining oyster fanning out from its fruiting place.
Walking now to the end of the valley, encountering dogs and walkers, exchanging brief greetings, it’s the last day of 2021, grey and damp. I turn again at the buddleias and their multiple brushes waving haphazard across the heath. Taking the lower path today to remain in the enclosure of the valley, a little below, and away from, the noise of the traffic. Past the mother oak and her offspring, buds already forming at their tips, and on to the gothic zone, I linger here in the gloomy amphitheatre, soaking up its damp, dark presence and imagining the garden it once was. Then I catch the seashore feel of the the lichen growing on an old waterlogged log; in another environment this could be a rock pool harbouring crabs and anemones. I hop over the well and make my way back. There is a scent of vanilla and almonds from the edges as I pass the winter heliotropes.