Persley Walled Garden + River Don = 87.5% of My Aberdeen Life
Near daily I have walked along the River Don.
It is the path to school. The path to town. The path to Tesco.
On long summer evenings I walk it after dinner and watch the sky change colors.
I know I will breathe easier and sleep better, so I slip out and wander down, letting the river and the wind take my thoughts.
Sometimes I listen to podcasts. Sometimes I listen to music.
Sometimes I just pray.
Some evenings or on Sunday afternoons, Taido walks it with me. We walk fast and process the day’s events in snippets of conversation.
I have smiled, sung, laughed, cried and fretted on these paths.
I have seen them in the rain.
I have walked them in snow and ice and in the bright sunshine.
I know what’s around the corner.
And how long it will take me to get there and back.
I know exactly where to stop for a rest.
I know where the raspberry and blackberry bushes grow, and when they will be in season.
I know where the only wisteria I have ever seen in Aberdeen grows in the spring.
And I know to increase my loops through the secret garden when it starts to come in more fully.
And to reserve long afternoons for sitting on the benches with a notebook if the sun is out in the summer.
But in winter, I still bundled up and walked these trails.
On cold days, I still detoured now and then through these walls to the garden.
The bare vines are placeholders for what I know will later bloom.
I have photos to remind me that there will be flowers here again.
Lots of flowers.
The crisp days will eventually melt away into softer seasons.
The slanting sunlight will return.
Simon and I first discovered the garden along this walk in late autumn.
It was all yellow and green and just before winter.
We ran around the loop and came back a few weeks later to sit on the benches with our fish and chips from a nearby “chippy.”
It’s become a familiar refuge. A hideaway.
I know these trails when they are in bloom and the green growth is plentiful. But also I know them in the most scarce seasons when the sun seems stingy with its heat.
When the leaves change colors and when they are all on the ground.
I have walked and walked these paths. They are a part of an earned familiarity in Aberdeen that I will miss.
But I know also that I will find new gardens and paths.
I will show them my hidden corners and all the places I have found to wander when the sun comes out to play.
So I’m saying goodbye to these weathered trails and making room on the little white benches in Persley Walled Garden for another family of wanderers to find and enjoy.