Monday, September 26, 2011

Up the HIll and Back to the Hedgerow

There is a paradox at the beating heart of our selves: the things we most need to keep us at our best are often the first things we neglect. I took myself finally back to my hedgerow universe. The weather was not the best, but the air though grumbly was dry and as soon as my feet hit the familiar walk up the hill, I felt myself loosen back into an easy stride and my world to open up. It has been so olng since I last visited the hedgerow that the colours have shifted. Most notably, the dochans have gone rusty--a colour akin to the rust on old anchors or metal bits off the side of buildings, but a colour somehow more alive than any metal-hugging rust. I like to stop and admire it. Perhaps someday I'll capture it in a dye pot or a mix of wools that get felted into a companionable union of colours, but for now I smile at it as I head to the top of the hill.

The leaves are still holding on most of the plants, but they have taken a beating from the winds, bruised and brown-tipped with the pummeling. Next to these battered leaves almost in defiance of the poor weather, a hearty spray of bright red berries on the hawthorne. I wish I had my camera, but now I have a good excuse to come again and hopefully to get back to the pattern of walks that give me so much pleasure.

I have to remember that all bad weather is good for something--our wet summer seems to have been good for spiders. The lane is full of gossamer threads. And now I see that the loch is full of snowy white birds. Now perhaps I'll borrow a camera with a stronger telephot lens and try to capture them. Yeats had his wild swans at Coole; I have my swans on Loch Heilan.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Lot to Ask of Bergamot

I am tired, sad, stressed, and homesick. The after effects of shingles seem to have become as much a part of the changing of the seasons as the return of the geese. For Arctic geese, Caithness is a relatively balmy clime. Probably only for Arctic geese. My feet are already cold and it is still September by the calendar.
So trying to be resourceful and support local enterprise, I looked over the lotions and potions at the local farmer's market sale at Mey Hall. There was just one bottle of bergamot mixture, which I quickly snatched up. Bergamot--bee balm--would be the balm for ailing spirit nae doot.
I splashed it on in the shower this morning and mirabile dictu--the sun has come out from behind the clouds--just a hint of light and warmth, but after all it was only a little bit of bergamot.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

A Serendipitous Day

I could try to blame it on working too hard, but the truth is that serendipity often does a better job of sorting my life than I can do for myself. When I showed up a week early for our walk and lunch, of course my friend was gracious. She quickly rearranged things so that we could walk to Holborn Head. Despite the fact that Holborn Head is right on my patch and I have been here now for 7 years, I had only ever seen it from the sea-side on the ferry to Orkney or from the town.

Like many things in Caithness, Holborn Head is stunningly beautiful, easy to get to, but potentially dangerous. One of the characteristics of a wild, open landscape is just that.

I was well away from the edge of the cliff when I took this photo, already having seen the bench that is a memorial to two young women who set across the head for a visit and never arrived.

Walking into the wild and talking with my friend provided a much needed antidote for a malaise I was not aware had crept in upon me, but serendipity got me where I needed to be.

Having had the day open up to me, I had the opportunity to catch up with friends setting up the new exhibit in our local gallery. It, too, was stunning, and stretched my imagination in another direction. I had been working with too many fiddly things so the walk-talk, the wildness, and the art helped get me back to my better (so I like to think) self.

I finished the day with impromptu visits to friends who shared a couple laughs and got their faith in serendipity recharged.
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