Sally’s Bridge

The little Sally stream rises near Djouce, passes my old house, from where it continues, dead straight, under Sally’s bridge and beyond, to the Vartry reservoir. Stuck in the dregs of the reservoir is a tiny shiny-red boot.
Sally’s Bridge, Roundwood, Co Wicklow.
I said it was dead straight. It was straightened. Farmer Brady’s two shapely fields were made one, the herds united. The short, natural stretch of the stream leads to Sally’s Bridge. Here, in summer, the Sally stream glistened with riffles and scales of tormented minnows attempting to break free of the dam we built from hawthorn and cobbles. Those same hawthorn twigs were used as masts for sailing-boat races. The finish line was Sally’s bridge. Upstream, before an unnaturally right-angled bend, frogspawn grew in winter. Here, we dreamed of being witches, brewing frog and pea soup, a concoction that would cause untold misery upon our enemies. In reality, stirring the pot caused untold misery on those frogspawn.
The winters were freezing, but ice didn’t creep up as far as Sally’s bridge, it was held up at the still waters of the reservoir. Shattered glass on the muddied water of the lakeshore. It was there and then that I lost my tiny shiny-red boot. Now, two embankments, a series of filter beds and treatment systems are between me and it. My tiny shiny-red boot is stuck in the dregs of Vartry reservoir, its remnants imbibed by south Dublin.