Category Archives: Firhouse Zibaldone

Night Lights (5)

Alert. Senses heightened walking at night. Sensitive to movement and sound, from the shadowy darkness. A fox ambles nonchalantly across the road. Disappears behind a shrub in a front garden. Paper fan of moth wing beats against a street light, one of a thousand. The reflected orange glow strikes the underbelly of a cloudy sky.

Words: JesseJames. Image: JesseJames.

Arm over Arm

For a long time this was one of the few footbridges over the river Dodder in Firhouse. Before this new curved bridge was constructed there was a dilapidated Victorian iron lattice-work bridge that ran across the river at the same point. In the 1980’s children used to climb across it or swing arm over arm along its underside, hanging 20 feet above the dark river below.

Words: JesseJames. Image: JesseJames.

Bealtaine blossoms

The hawthorn tree grew up long before the houses that have it cornered. The guy who comes to tame it every couple of years reckons it’s about one hundred and fifty years old. The powerful tree has three trunks, in the crook of which lurks a stone. Gnarled bark claws round chiselled curves. You can still make out chinks on the stone’s surface, chipped by mason’s tool.

We wonder how the stone came to be trapped in the triplet of trunks. We imagine the stone is from a wall that marked the field boundary. Left to rest in the cleft of a young tree, by those who built the wall, as a gift to the gods, perhaps. Or maybe the stone had already fallen and persistent saplings pushed skyward, gradually enclosing it in their grip. Both tree and stone soothed by wind and rain, lullabyed at twilight by the starling roosting in the branches, mimicking the trills and warbles of its hedgerow brethren.

The march of time was less poetic in the last decades of the twentieth century. Cow pastures  turned into weed free lawns. Country lanes steam-rollered into motorways. One old coaching inn withdrawn behind locked gates and ever increasing hedges. The other coaxes customers with karaoke, pints and pizza. Take away and dry cleaners where chickens once pecked at worms. The old smithy shoes capuccinos. Driveways with one, two, three cars.

Shifting sound tracks echo the medusa touch of human progress. The churning river drowned by motorway hum. The beating wings of bumble bees replaced by the whirring of peeping drones and helicopters guarding the atmosphere. Notification pings jolt story-teller’s rhythmic meandering way. The starling’s twilight lullaby has morphed into a techno house party. Mixing car alarms and house alarms. Sampling sirens and reversing vehicles.

White dots on the hawthorn bulge, itching to spurt into blossom.

Image: JesseJames. Words: JesseJames