The enduring sunny spell has long been broken out here in coastal north Dublin but those brief treasured moments of languid incandescence keep on coming.
Just now the town park is breathing in and out in the early afternoon radiance … leaves are rustling, branches are quivering and songbirds shriek and trill.
Far away bodies and buggies appear to be swished by the swaying boughs, as they appear and disappear from view.
Not all is languorous: a quick-step junkie in navy Adidas tracksuit with blood-red piping darts down the central pathway, phone tight to his ear, impatient, as always, for his next rendezvous. As helium-voiced children dash through the strawed grass or fumble laughing with the shiny outdoor gym machines that line the way.
Vigilant mommies confer nearby, snacks, bottles and sweet-soothings or admonitions at the ready.
Up on the ridge near the front entrance a group of young teenagers too cool to be outwardly giddy are sitting intense in their circle of experiment and confidence.
The summer sojourn goes on and on.
I am doing the perimeter walk with terrier Bella, who is yapping it all up.
A few moments later I look back towards the ridge, and the circle has dispersed. I check my phone and it is 1pm.
Home to brood wordlessly over the lunch table, perhaps, or in front of illuminated dressing tables.
Bowls and dishes banged down afterwards beside the sink if narky mommies or daddies insist. At the third time of asking.
Back again to the circle, or to the next meeting point.
It is hard, at times, as well as exciting and confusing, to be a young teenager, and it is not easy to be the parent of a young teenager.
So much they have to go through and try to figure out, and we are there so wanting to be consulted, involved even, with every wrong move we make scorned or rebuffed. Even if we are right. Especially if we are right.
Just shut up, pay out and drive!
Plenty of forgiveness and latitude, it seems, for their own actions, less, or none at all for ours. As we carp at them, or helplessly complain and share with our equally-bemused partners.
Or so it often seems.
Who, oh why does each generation contrive to make these fleeting moments of gilded incandescent youth also so perplexing, so troubling and so erratic?
Even as this generation of parents pays attention like never before. Too much, maybe, or too little. Never right.
Sharing a space but precious few confidences.
And we contrive to be surprised when our children are compelled often to seek out moments of transcendence outside of their own possibilities.
And realising our worst fears, heedlessly seek out these moments in recklessly peddled libations, in carelessly mixed narcotics, or in the arms of similarily stumbling adolescents.
Soft-cheeked youth that should be shimmering giddy with potential and unsullied ambition, swaying graceful and green as those shimmering trees and quivering boughs.
Figuring it all out at their leisure. And ours.
So young and not yet brought down by earthly experience and inconvenience, and they continue, as we all did, to make the best and the worst of these incandescent moments.
As we, the parents, look for our own answers. And, dumbly, for their’s.
And all our hard-won certainties and securities continue to fall from our vaulted branches like the leaves of autumn lament.
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