I walked slowly home from babysitting Abigail this morning.
When the weather's good, and the ground underfoot, dry, I walk the green lane. It is an extension, in it's way, of Bury Barr Lane out of Newent. It was, a century or so ago, I suspect, the cattle-rutted Drovers' Road to Gloucester. It's now beleaguered and set about on all sides by the new housing developments, whose faux-rural names I have mercifully forgotten.
Rubbish is frequently tipped over into this cool green tunnel - garden waste, knackered lawn mowers and non-functioning kitchen appliances - by the sort of people who would do that sort of thing. All of which is regularly 'disappeared' by the sort of people who wouldn't.
Yes, a cool, green, tunnel. A hundred yards of retreat. A multi-sensory experience of the wildwood fringe, that would be difficult to recreate today.
The sun is finally warm. I think of my hat, hanging, forlorn, in the cupboard under the stairs, and wish it wasn't. I stop to chat to a twittering grey squirrel and again, to let the birds have their say too. I note where the bluebells will burst open next week, and admire the golden riot of lesser celandine, reflecting,in their blowsy way, the glory of the sun-shining . (Even when it's not.) By mid-May, St. Anne's lace will be waste high and peppering the air with a pale cream scent from it's flamboyant parasols.
I'm savouring this. I let all that I see, and hear, and smell and feel, coalesce into a memory of a beautiful morning, in late Spring. One that I will recall over and over again when memory is all I have left.
I don't walk alone.
Flash died today. I wrote of Flash last year ('Bumping Into Flash'). That guy could spin a yarn so incredible that you might think that no-one could believe it but me. His scrapes with the law, which he held in contempt, featured the longest chases, the most spectacular escapes, the most unlikely outcomes... . No one DID believe them but me.
Dirty heroin? Vodka and pills? The streets are rife with rumour. It hardly matters. He was careless, and now he's dead.
I walked the green lane with Flash this morning. A hundred yards of retreat.