A few months ago, number two son, Chris, and I took a walk through the nature reserve. The old plot delineations are still there, vague now and overgrown. Hawthorn hedges, old wooden gates, mostly rotten and holding no interloper out.
Within, with grass almost waist-high, moving in a breeze that is easy to imagine blowing from another time, are places where people tilled the earth and got the good soil under their fingernails, and where smoke from their garden fires curled around and made their eyes water.
It is all there in that place of forgotten allotments. It is a register of lives.
Chris and I walked on and came to one particular plot with hawthorn thick at the base and at least fifteen feet high. Mostly hidden in the undergrowth beyond the hedge was a spade, and with the spade there was a story telling of a grand cycle of people's triumph over the rough soil, and their beautiful ordinariness.
I laid these images down into memory, and when I got home I began to write.
Until next time,
posted by J.J. Overton on September, 18
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