An urban idyll

ArnosValeMeadow cr Judy DarleyIn the curious time directly after the morning’s rain and just as the afternoon’s sun was slanting in, I took myself for a walk to the green wilds of Arnos Vale Cemetery yesterday. With a Guardian Books’ podcast muttering in my ears, I set out to explore, meandering up paths that trailed away into nothing, striding through silvery meadow grasses that had grown as tall as my waist (and some right up to my shoulders) stepping carefully around gravestones too overgrown to read.

Ash keys cr Judy Darley

As I made my way past the hanging keys of the ash trees, there was a shift in the air and the whole tide of waist-high grasses suddenly shivered, leant forward very slowly, then began to sway back and forth as though in response to some choreography I’d failed to learn, or had forgotten.

High overhead the poplars poppled and a pigeon leapt, and soared free.

Slug cr Judy Darley
The headstones were warm to the touch and glistening, emerald-backed flies sat soaking up reflected rays, while the rainfall-roused slugs turn resentful antennae to the swift-drying stems.

Yellow snail cr Judy DarleyTiny snails as yellow as seashore periwinkles clung to the rough stones. Lone spiders scattered this way and that as though trying to convince me they were each more than one, and striped beetles sunbathed in the cups of flowers, while gold-fluffed bees dipped and nestled among them.


Peace, in the midst of the city.

Wild flowers and bee cr Judy Darley