Commuterland – For Into Gardens, with the original story by Alys Fowler.
Here is the cold rush and the quick step of the commute. The coffee spilt and saved, but also now dripping down your wrist into your coat sleeve, which will soak it up just enough that by the return journey it will smell rancid. There’s the hard grey pavement and the harder grey sky, the seller’s shout lost as you hasten down the steps in the stations dungeon, onto the train, into a seat, just.
And then shunted into the window pane, where humid drips of hundreds of breaths run into rivulets. Here in these streams is a view to another world by the train track’s sides, into the river’s bend, along where no man is supposed to tread. Here, you catch, for just a second, a view that
For a second you glance up at a burst of hope so seemingly fragile that you must crane to catch it just that bit longer. A burst so small that it might go as unnoticed as the bee that visits it, braving the break in the sky to catch an early meal.
Here is spring tender and new as yet unspoilt by soot and fumes. Those early blooms, the suppleness of stems as they draw life back into themselves, the sheen of swelling buds, the unfurling of promise.
In a few weeks it will be lost, the petals strewn to the floor and replaced by a thousand leaves, at first as delicate, soon dulled.
These wildlings of the wayside are not pretty they way chosen plants that lie in garden are. They grow straggely, unapologetically where they want. The do not adhere to rules of colour or form. Adorned with plastic bags and sweet wrappers, growing out of rubbish their tenacity is captured best in spring.
For now, they are all new and for now, all for you.
You in the seat by the window, you who took the short cut across the park, behind the garages, along the river, through the little woods. You who ventured where the wild thing grow.
For now, these first signs are your secret, spring is cracking open the door, giving you a glimpse before summer opens it and lets you out.
Making Leaf Mould, with Alys Fowler – for Into Gardens
Making a Willow Hurdle, with Alys Fowler