50 / Garden

This post is a reminiscence by my  eldest son:

The garden in front of my house is a place of mystery and surreal magic. It has a funny way of subverting expectation and withholding far more than is revealed at first glance.

However, I am a seasoned prospector for its secrets. I have roamed its rough grasslands since before I could rhyme and mounted countless expeditions to the heartland of its forest.

When you walk out the front door of my house you are greeted by a small terrace. The terrace ends in a shear drop that gives way to a splendid vista of Cork city. As distracting as this view is, you might miss the opening at the edge of the terrace and the narrow stone steps that lead to my garden below.

The lawn itself is at a 45-degree incline (somewhat perversely if you are unlucky enough to be attacking your opponent’s goalposts at the top of the slope. The football-sized holes in our greenhouse at the bottom of the slope attest to the ease of scoring in the opposite direction). From the top, the knowing eye can spot the opportunities for adventure that are everywhere: In the corner, a fairly dodgy rope swing we used to hurl ourselves off. Amongst the bushes that frame the lawn there are hidden green tunnels and thick roots to commando-crawl under. A tree nestled in another corner gave us many delicious pots of plum jam and could be scaled to reach the top of our garden shed during starry nights. We even have a hawthorn tree if you fancy a conversation with faeries.

However, the real jewel of the garden can only be accessed by a slender and partially decayed plank of wood that extends from the top of the garden steps.  This passageway disappears between the leaves at the top of a tall beech tree. Inside here is a private, green enclave. When we were small, Dad fashioned a platform among the branches. It was a place where you could sit and dream. 

Unfortunately I’ve gotten a bit too big these days to squeeze into this hidden chamber. Now its secrets are enjoyed solely by our family cat. I am not sure what he dreams about up there, but I am glad that someone still enjoys it.


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