Shutter Speed

After the school run, you stop at the park. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and you want to take some photos.

(You’ve been meaning to come for days. Why haven’t you come before?)

The park is quiet; commuters and students already at their desks. You stand alone under pink and white blossoms, watch stray petals drift from branch to ground. Petal-rain, petal-kisses.

(Why haven’t you come before?)

You don’t always like city parks. You prefer nature wild and rugged: an antidote to the confines of suburbia.

But you’re drawn to this park every spring, to its loping line of cherry blossoms. There’s something so delicate about the cherry blossoms. You want to hold your breath, tiptoe.

An elderly couple walk past you. The woman is reminiscing about the last time they were here. The man nods his head companionably.

You think they should have the cherry blossoms to themselves, so you retreat to the pond, watch the swan at her morning bath.  Three ducks descend from the sky, land with a splash.

You walk on, past the bandstand and the willow tree. You want to return to the cherry blossoms; to stand, still and silent, receive their pink benediction. But you want to delay the pleasure too; savour the promise of beauty.

And so you turn away, head towards the park’s periphery. You enjoy the wide expanse of grass, the sturdy loveliness of ash, oak, alder. But you’re thinking about the cherry blossoms, even as you run your hand along a rough bark, trace the veins in a new leaf.

You wonder how long the blooms will last. One week? Two? Less if the weather’s cruel. It seems foolhardy to delay now, and your stomach tightens as you turn back the way you came.

You walk fast, adjusting the camera settings as you go, ready to take your photos and leave.


herbert6     Hushherbert4     herbert9

herbertblog8          herbertblog7

hushherbertHerbert Park is a 32-acre park situated between Ballsbridge and Donnybrook. Built on the site of the 1907 World Fair, the park opened to the public in August, 1911. Two of the structures in the park date from its earliest days: the duck pond and the wooden bandstand.

The park is divided by Herbert Park Road and bordered on the south side by the River Dodder. It contains playing fields, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, and a bowling green. A walk or jog around the perimeter is exactly one mile.

The park is home to many species of native trees.

And, of course, to cherry blossoms.

About Aileen Hunt

I write nonfiction: essays, memoir, and prose poetry, as well as shorter, more humorous pieces. I embarrass my family regularly. I’m interested in how we respond to place, how it affects our sense of identity and wellbeing. I try to pay attention to my surroundings, to look at them carefully and respectfully. I want to feel at home wherever I live. I’m a Dubliner, through and through, but I have a soft spot for the West of Ireland. Who doesn’t?
This entry was posted in May 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Shutter Speed

  1. lynnwyvill says:

    Hi Aileen,

    Lovely post. Our cherry blossoms are long gone so it was lovely to see your post with pictures. I love to stand under the trees while those pink petals “rain” down on my head.

  2. Maura Dolan says:

    A beautiful evocative piece

  3. Frances Jordan says:

    ‘Pink benediction’— oh Aileen! Better and better 😊

    Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2013 11:01:11 +0000

  4. Aileen Hunt says:

    Reblogged this on Aileen Hunt and commented:

    Lovely Spring weather this week, so thought I’d reblog one of my Hush posts from last year. Enjoy!

  5. mistermuse says:

    I appreciate your mentioning that there was a World’s Fair in Dublin in 1907. Having been to Dublin years ago, and still having relatives there, I remain interested in learning things about it that I didn’t know before. 🙂

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