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The Belfast Greenway – by Anne Baillie

Long listed for the WRITE ABOUT WALKING AND LISTENING competition run in July & August 2021

The blackbird scrutinises us brightly from the sycamore. He sings in three-note trills with a final rising squee, “This-is-my . . . This-is-my–mor-ning-TREE!”

A carpenter bee bumble-stumbles in the honeysuckle, seeking the perfect nectar for the morning after the night before. Still resplendent in his shiny black party gear, which is now splattered in pollen, he hums and shakes the flowers to release more, and the golden life-dust tumbles and trembles on the quiet breeze.

Three more sober bumble bees are working the dandelion patch to my left, sifting each flower with a satisfying, higher-pitched “Buzz-ZIP! Buzz-ZIP!” before moving on. Their legs jig in a perfect harmony of fuzz and angles.

Beyond the dandelions, the dog dives through the draggletailed ferns, which part with a starched rustle. As he swishes through, he disturbs both a low spinner and a high-flyer. The sheet-web spider reels nimbly to the edge of her shaken tuning-fork web and turns, all eyes aglow, to face this intruder, while the disturbed chaffinch startles upwards, shrilling his “Pink! Pink!” of irritation as he soars. Delighted by this unexpected impact, the dog re-emerges triumphant, panting and scraping the stones in pleasure.

Suddenly, two squirrels skitter across the path in front of us, their tails in parentheses as they scramble up the smooth poplars ahead. One, noticing the dog, turns his tail into an exclamation point of shock as he leaps upward. We listen as they scrabble nimbly into the cool green canopy overhead.

Beauty is here.


Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud, for a chance to win a prize. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Read more from the Long List of stories submitted to the WRITE ABOUT WALKING & LISTENING competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 26 September 2021 book here.

Buy WALKING – the limited edition illustrated chapbook anthology of 15 poems and stories inspired by walking and listening €4.50 + p&p

All proceeds go to support future Sound Walk Septembers

ElizaB

ElizaB

I find walking in nature to be remarkably therapeutic and I increasingly enjoy writing about it as well. I love to go for long walks with my Westie, Thorin (yes, named after Thorin Oakenshield, and every bit as feisty, loyal and opinionated as his fictiona...

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