Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Into the Season of Soft Air and Long Light

Oddly enough when I first heard the expression "soft air" I was breathing it in and so the phrase made perfect sense. It is, however, one of those things very hard to explain if you are not breathing it.

Last night as I stood just outside the back door, I heard myself saying "soft air" and breathing it in gratefully. I associate soft air with spring and summer--the months of longer light, but I think in all fairness it could occur any time of the year. When the wind is whipping you senseless or driving fine-toothed rain or snow into you, you have neither time nor interest in parsing out the relative hardness of it.

Lichens grow luxuriantly up here. Ecologists use lichens as an indicator of the relative health of the air, so part of that lovely softness may be what is not in our air. We are a long way from smoke stacks and heaps of automobiles. Actually, I might have left that sentence midway and still held a lot of truth. In the season of the soft air and long light, it is joy to be far away from things. when the world is dark and cold, that distance is not such a pleasure.

After a pummelling by a gale, it is easy to imagine that the soft air is the result of the egg beater effect on egg whites--frothy air.

At any rate, the days are stretching and the air is sweet and soft. Soon the gorse will be popping out their butter-coloured, chardonnay-coconut flavoured blossoms all over the hills.

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At 5:01 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

Is that photograph looking toward your neighbor's land--the place where we went walking on the stones while the tide was coming in?

At 9:11 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

I had to take a look to check. This is on a walk we did not do. This is Strath Naver. Strath means river valley. And the river is now called the naver but I am guessing from my limited knowledge of Gaelic place names that it may have once been strath na bher --no V in Gaelic so sometimes it is W or bh --don't ask me why. I don't know what the last piece might have meant. I'll see if I can track it down. It is a beautiful walk. I have done just a bit of it.

At 1:14 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

I think we went to Strath Naver, so I actually may have seen this view. Look at



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