“It is dusk in summer and we are walking towards the lake. The fading light has greyed the water that we can glimpse through the trees. The wildflowers are out — wood avens, honeysuckle, greater bladderwort — and on the lake’s eastern shore, a cluster of white water lilies.
“I tell you to keep your eyes alert for young hedgehogs or badgers or foxes that might be coming out to feed.
“We go down to the water, admiring the stillness that makes it look half-solid, like mercury. We circle round it, pushing through the spot where the pathway knots with nettles and strings of the weed we call Sticky Nelly.
“I pick fuchsia and show you how to suck the flower for honey. We deal no reproaches, we let no shadow fall.
“We stay out until the bats start to appear and then we leave the lake and turn back the way we came down. I pick another flower, an orchid for my your hair, and we walk, with you just a shade ahead of me, through the slow-gathering darkness, back to the house where my father no longer lives.”
-- Set in Doolough, a fictional village in Co Wicklow, Ireland.