Sunday, 20 November 2016


It's gone in the Highlands now, the calm days of autumn. Winter has just suddenly arrived, with -3 degrees, and snow and so for another year we say farewell to the autumn.

I find that it's always too brief. Blink-and-you-miss-it-brief, but those halcyon days are my favourite. Drifting birch leaves, a quiteness in the air, willowherb seeds being lifted by the lightest wind, and always in my favourite spaces, the sounds of water.

Falling birch leaves are my visual memory of autumn. I remember being in the 'vat' part of the Burn o' Vat and being there early morning with leaves snowing around me.

I remember standing in a birch woodland watching the leaves fall to the earth and feeling like my soul could lift straight to heaven for the beauty and the quietness of the autumn happening all around me.

Both those memories are several years old and yet they're still within me as some of the best memories of autumn I have. But those days are so fleeting. It's a matter of being in the right place/ right time, and we cannot force this. Summer left a while ago, and now Autumn has gone and we enter the most silent time of year: the time of little daylight, of soft footprints, of white mountain hares, and of hibernation.

It'll come again, autumn will, and that's the joy of the seasons. As sure as the day will turn to night, the summer will turn to autumn and the leaves will again begin to fall. And my soul will again rejoice at the perfection of our natural world.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Feet / Paths

Sometimes the past and the present merge, and we no longer know where our feet are taking us. Sometimes, the planets have shifted enough so that our locations are no longer straightforward and our path seems warped and uneven. Sometimes, the past and the present become both part of the future, which stretches out, unknowing, unknowable and nothing is as it seems. Sometimes the freedom we taste is leftover from another time, a memory of a past life where constraints were only in our head. Sometimes, the romanticism becomes overwhelming and sometimes, the present is the only place to be. 

Sometimes (farming, creating, painting, dancing, making, telling, crying, laughing, planting, harvesting, living, breathing, dying, floating) are all intertwined and we don’t know which way is up, which way is down but for the fact that our feet are still stable on the ground. 

Sometimes the past and the future link up and it seems an endless cycle which we go through again and again and again. For sitting in this chair, hearing that bird, taking that step are all memories that we did not know we had and might never have had in this lifetime before. 

Crossing a bridge, I knew it as a memory of the soil. Feet have crossed this bridge before, hearts have gone this way. Not just human, but human and animal and spirit intermixed: we are all new and we are all ancient.