These days I have been entering the Glen via the ZigZag, too early for Sunview East (which is still under lock & key till the Council begin their day) It’s been some time since I walked this path – the way is lush with Winter heliotrope ruffling the borders of my descent, an audience of sorts, their generous cones beckoning the morning sun, all ears to my footsteps.
And so I make a grand entrance, stopping at the viewing balcony over the Fleischamnn ruins, the white gateposts of the empty lot and the muddy platform that was once Maeve’s place, I see the river sliding through, and the upper field still frosted; the curtains will soon be closing on this view, which will be taken over by growth, for now I suck it up, listening to the birds.
I go on down to see if the Dipper’s around, but something odd attracts my attention
There is something different about the log where the Dipper waits. Yesterday disgusted by a plastic bag trapped there I thought about returning to remove it. Today already it’s something else: an open book. Its pages wafted by the river, print not yet washed away, there is something birdlike in its wing-paged presence. I crouch closer and cannot make out what kind of book it is, the print is small and my first impression is of some kind of bible, or holy book. Now through the lens of my phone I see its more likely a novel. I make out the upside down words… ‘crumbling house’…. so seemingly apt in this place, I wonder if it has been planted. Curious I make my way over to the other bank, passing a procession of Lords and Ladies, their membrane cowls lit up in the low sun, all focused around that purple centre, standing upright, at once exposed and enclosed.
The way parts white and blue for me, anemone left and bluebell right as I entangle myself in trees to get a look at that strange book from this other side. Here it takes on a more animated role, clinging to the log, pages multiply-limbed, out of its dorsal spine, making my skin crawl in response to its creature presence.
Leaving the woods and wending past the Ragged Robin on the old stone wall I pass beyond the little white flowers in the hedgerow by the bayou, sleepy still, they are lifting their heads from the frost, too here are members of the dandelion family, still clinging are their yellow gold petals, stuck to their white-seed halos like plant life comb overs I wonder – can plants too be vain? By the ponds I pass the unzipped bulrushes puffed up, and still hanging on to their seeds in their velvet brown heads.
The concrete space for the bench is primed to for a fitting. I stop and take in the HAUNTY script, aware of it becoming a haunting of itself in the ever cumulating layers of Glen activity. A few days are compressed into one and the new bench arrives yellow, making shadows now across the already old inscription, HAUNTY 22. Here once stood a wooden bench that in the ways of the Glen got burnt and had to be replaced.
I find a clutch of feathers wafting gently by the pond, a loosely balled aftermath, waving. Nearby the 3 cornered garlic is out and freshly white.
I make my way to the high ground and crossing the overflow of the well, I find the little stick bridge has been dismembered since the last time I crossed, yesterday.
Up passed the branches of the mother oak, on to the charred hills, and ground that is now replenished by water, water from rain and frost and dew, and new growth is spurting up from the black earth
at ground level blades of grass make offerings of water droplets to the earth while Fire-weed and Bracken are racing to claim the territory… I look forward to the promise of Rosebay Willow-herb once more gracing the heights of the valley, even while I miss that little magical portal made across the track by willow and gorse. With no partner now the willow arches to nothing, parched to the ground I’m hoping she survives. The wee red fire-weed army marches up to its roots, bolstering its presence here on the heath of the Glen.
Creatures carry on
and find ways back below, the gorse still giving egress at its charred old base.
the charred growth becomes dead signs
Coming back along, the path is lit up by the rising sun and I look below and wonder at those twin trees, that pair leaning into one another like an old couple, one emergent green, the other still skeletal, I decide to go to visit The Hatch. Doubling back through the Gothic zone I pass a cluster of Hart’s Tongue fern – a name so resonant – deer’s tongue lick – hart to heart, they are emerging now from the bare ground, echoing the imprint of yesterday’s fern croziers. Just now, here in the valley I discover those twins are both Maples. I look up between their branches and see them reach for one another, a slip stream of sky between them fizzles with their approach.
The wall at the hatch is so transformed now, in its painted white surface those deeper embedded signs come forth… human carvings, letterings and text talk. So what about the lichens? They used to come here in circles of yellow and grey-greens/pale whites – live and growing – are these lichen patterns growing still, beneath the surface? or can we expect new pathways atop the paint? For now we have the Brassicas, giving their acid gold in front of the gorge-formed back drop of the ancient valley. We must be aware of the layers we create, us humans and story tellers – what we wipe and sweep – what is erased – what keeps on coming back, in ever evolving cycles….it’s hard to grasp and difficult to perceive … I feel we must be attentive….tune in