A City Morning
It’s early autumn but even before nine in the morning it’s warm. Raffi and I collect Violet and together we walk through the rushing-to-work city with its engines and horns and sirens, its weaving cyclists and hurrying pedestrians. We are going to the parkland that lies in the centre of the city, behind the old castle walls.
In the park, I take the leads off the dogs and they skid off through the leaves, hoping to see squirrels. Mist rises from the drenched grass. Homeless men emerge from tents under the trees, hang sleeping bags from branches and warm themselves in the sunshine, the embers of last night’s fires dying. They call out to me: what a lovely morning this is.
The park cafes are setting out awnings and chairs and in the middle of the field a circus tent is being erected. Along the canal the giant prehistoric mallow leaves are collapsing under their own weight, melting into the water. As Raffi gallops through the trees and Violet dives into molehills, I find a pile of quince fruit fallen from a tree. We walk to the river, fat today, swollen from recent rain, a heron, as still as a statue, watching from the bank. There is almost nobody here, just us and a group of young Muslim women on a nature walk, and the city is now just a distant sigh.
On the way back a stranger stops to greet the dogs and gives me a pumpkin from her allotment. It’s always the same, this walk, and always different. By the time we step out into the chaos of the city again we are ready to face the new day.
Helping rough sleepers in Wales: https://thewallich.com/
Violet walked by https://www.walkwagplay.co.uk/