In Johnstown Castle Gardens, swans glide serenely on a lake of green algae,
their nest hidden by the burst of growth along the swampy waterside.
Giant Gunnera and black stemmed Chinese Bamboo plunge their roots into the sodden bank.
Blush of Pink and purple Rhododendrons, Camellia and the perfumed flowers of Mock Orange Blossom. Pine trees soaring above a canopy of glossy green Laurel and the surprise of Flag Iris in glory of sunshine yellow while ferns, buttercups and all kinds of wild flowers fill the gaps below.
Shady earthen paths, small birds whistling from hidden places, scents of woodland and a damp bench for pause and reflection.
At the entrance to the courtyard and cafeteria, a pheasant atop his lofty perch commands attention, his screeches echo,
another struts purposefully in the courtyard, tail feathers fanned, he struts his stuff.
Photo taken at the middle lake in Johnstown Castle Gardens, Wexford, by Teri Flynn May 2019
It was good to stop and take a halfway moment, allowing my mind to wander into forgotten dreams, surrounding myself with thoughts of softness, kindness, strength, and the pleasure of just being here. The unfolding was encouraging,
Halfway down the crumbling wooden steps, the sound of waves rolling onto sand.
Halfway through January, the morning has warmed to three degrees.
Halfway between here and there, thoughts of scrambling autumn blackberries, and
yellow wild flowers nestling amongst the scrub.
Raindrops in a line on the tips of thin grass.
My halfway thoughts linger on all the small jewels.
Under a three forked tree,wind blows through the noisy caw of crows.
They seem to own the woods here.
Trees of great height and fallen, filtered sunlight, daffodils and bark littered ground.
I want to walk through the woods but I’m on my own and not sure whether to take the risk. What if……..
Sitting on a bench just inside the turnstile gate allows for pause and reflection. Behind me, emerging daffodils grow in circles around palm trees. Beyond the low brick wall overlooking the lower village, there is a clear view of the beach and surrounding cliffs. I watch a small child at the waters edge, she dares the tide to stop at her feet, watching intently as it almost does. Gulls fly swiftly past. A grey container ship moves slowly out to open sea. In between gathering grey clouds, the sun warms my winter-pale face.
Walkers with children enter through the turnstile. There is safety in numbers and so I allow them five minutes or so to go ahead before following at a reasonable distance. Tall trees on either side of the path are aware of my touch on their rough bark. They watch and listen as I acknowledge their presence in my heart. Amongst the decay of fallen trees, hundreds of daffodils, buds not yet evident, line the edges of the path. Clumps of tiny white bell shaped flowers stand proud above the bracken. The music of the woods is tuning up for spring, new life sprung from the old.