Old & New
Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Meeting for our penultimate sessions, we start by reflecting on the things that stood out for each of us after the in depth history walk most of us were involved with on Saturday. George Gilfillan and his sponsoring of working class poets; the story of the park being "gifted" to the people of Dundee by the benevolent owners (who were paid, by the way) and the history of trespass upon the hill which Erin Farley's talk had touched upon. Caroline Martyn, the campaigner for the Independent Labour Party who came from Lincoln to Dundee and was laid to rest at only 29, and the grave of Mary Lily Walker, distinctive in red sandstone.
We walk in our usual way past some of the same points we have passed many times in the past 6 weeks. We think about places which are special to us. "Where is your favourite place? Imagine yourself there and write what about it is like." Some of us are in our own house, some by the sea, some in the hills. My own favourite place is in Balgay, a bench with a view of Craigowl hill and the Sidlaws.
I climb to reach the point I know
Will clear me from the trees
The future will be held together
By moments such as these
One of the group Nancy stopped me towards the end of the history walk on Saturday: "that's a view", she said. I recalled noticing the same thing when I first visited Balgay. The beautiful wide sweep of the Tay which can be seen from an unlikely spot in the working part of the cemetary. She writes about it today as her favourite place. From now on anytime I walk past I will enjoy it as "Nancy's view."
We have been writing and sharing for 6 weeks in a row, moving out of the closed spaces we have been living in the past year or more and finding connections again, whether with nature, with ourselves, with those who also share our enthusiasms and passions, and perhaps even with some of those strange spirits resting beneath the hill.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
"Ariel's Song" , from William Shakespeare, The Tempest.