The Silkstream

Fragment from a memory-walk.

Another gate, another attempt to shock the land into subservience. Into Lyndhurst Park we wander, on our final approach - next station, Mill Hill (The Hale), alight here for Mill Hill Broadway and services to St. Pancras International - the call that never came.

As we wander on ahead of our company, let us take a second to observe our surroundings. We are by the Silkstream now, watching as it wades its way towards the Welsh Harp. We were warned as children to be careful near the banks. The stream was liable to flood very quickly, in rain. There was the tale of the children who swam in it, one afternoon. Skipping dinner, they continued to play, only a few metres from their homes. When the rain started to fall, little notice was taken, until soon, the downpour was torrential. There was little time to act; caught in the fast-flowing water, the children were dragged down stream, unable to tear themselves from the rapid water. When their bodies were found, they were still warm to touch, but all life had exited their frail skins and they never breathed again.

I talk now, to you, young spirits of the Brent, who perished here, frolicking in the water. You are not forgotten. Your laughter still wanders the park. Your smiles are now the smiles of the small rodents that pick at the grass. You energy, well it drives the flowers in spring and thaws the ice as winter passes. There is no way your bodies are not sacred, for when you returned to dust, you travelled slowly, back to this place, where you spent your final joyous moments, before the floods came. 

By the time those poor children passed, the trains tracks had long been pulled up. But there were arches here, the viaduct still on show. Now, concrete sits in its place. I remember the cavernous ceilings, high above us, as we wandered the remnants of the old platform here. There it lies, beneath the vines, hidden from view. When the workers come here now to drink amongst the bramble, to fornicate amongst the bushes, do they know they do it on the burial site of Mill Hill The Hale? I cannot be sure.