Monthly Archives: August 2012

walking along(side) mother sea


 How often do we commune with our very own homeworld?
Precious, as a collection of diamonds in an oceanic casket, my afternoon belonged to the very shore, like a highly spiritual encounter.
I felt privileged to be at one with my northern world.

Geopoetics in motion.

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August 26, 2012 · 10:39 pm


20120810-124408.jpg There is always a sense of adventure as we walk by a press gang.
Nothing feels quite the same. Prints of our feet move like strangers – we wander around time like lone travellers in search of that something we once anchored in this harbour.

We look aghast around bollards, as ripples write our departure.

Too soon ago, we watched seabirds in sea mayweeds and gazed at blue in this great Atlantic casket… Our northern sun, so generous.

Puffin & bus Photographs courtesy of Ivan Robertson.

For two whole days, we boarded a minibus with kindred spirits from the opposite side of the world, trekked round the isle in search of gems and found ourselves in the back of beyond, our great Nordic outback, as we entered the great dormant volcano.
The views from the edge of the island’s great North West corner – Eshaness – leave you breathless.
The Wow effect flourished once more.


But now the shore changes colours.

20120810-130646.jpg Soon, eider drakes moult around our familiar headlands; their concubines drift around holms… Salt on their feathers & our lips,
we know the adventure still belongs to the sea.

Listen to the silence from our cliffs.

One by one, burrows will recover their original tenants – rabbits, instead of puffins. I’m still hoping for a few late leavers on Sunday. On the last day of my summer break, I will once more walk that great Head and share its magic with fellow explorers.
If summer left with the flight call of the rain goose in a majestic boreal sky,
Monday will begin with school bells…

Meantime, I shall enjoy my last hours of adventures along my shore, and keep a close eye on my very natural world. Arcania may once be shrouded in low cloud, every day feels a press gang for a brand new departure.


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Filed under 2012, 60N, Arcania, birds, boats, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, north, shetland, shore, spirit, writing

song of tirricks

20120802-130644.jpg Tie your own boat a’da noost – the highest point at any beach – and walk around.

Under August’s chaotic skies, we set foot on one of the richest secluded beaches of the isle. The air was filled with salt and beads, so we wandered around da craigs – rocks closest to the rocking North Atlantic, clad with seaweed, selkies and chimes…


There, at our feet, a treasure trove in between sand grains & rock pools waited for us.


In all its generosity, the Atlantic brought us nacre beyond our dreams – as if last Yule’s most savage storm had tossed the ocean bed like a golden laced crêpe suzette…


So we kneeled with respect and selected the very ones that caught our hearts. Oblivious to selkies (seals) & tirricks (terns) in the distance, we continued to scour the beach – go though the sand with a thin-toothed comb.

We bagged our loot, and as we were about to leave, the wind played tricks and heaved a ballet above us:

song of tirricks

So we watched in awe our visiting swallows of the sea, as they vanished in hissing skies.

Lugh, the Celtic god of the sun, is still roosting inside low cloud…

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Filed under 2012, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, birds, celebration, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, north, seabird, shetland, spirit, wind, world, writing

Treasures on a shelf

For the love of books 🙂

Yak an' Maak

“Never judge a book by its cover”, so they say…

… ‘They’ also say, “all that glitters is not gold”

But aren’t they pretty when you put the two together?!

Publisher Nelson, crica 1913 (no date)

    I work in a bookshop specialising in second hand and antiquarian books and quite often I will be drawn to a particular spine on a shelf… a unique font, a gilded image or embossed design… and I just have to gently retrieve it from the shelf and have a little fondle!  Ok…that’s perhaps a bit strange, but old books are fascinating and should be handled with wonder…and also care!

    If properly shelved, the spine of a book is the only thing a browser can see, it’s the only thing that gives us the initial information we need…What’s it called? Who wrote it? Who published it?

    Alas though, 99% of the time we probably only…

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Undetected, Hairst, time of the First Harvest, also known as the first day of Autumn (in our wheel of the Earth’s cycle) has begun.
July left us with magnificent shades of blue, pale pink, orange & crimson. Lugh, the Celtic sun god, kindly reminded us of the great cycle of seasons, and that summer must now glide through the equator…

First Harvest

As I wander around our fields and meadows, hay bales have made their appearance. Birds on the move once again, they congregate in large numbers now the silage has disappeared. Within a week or two, many of our breeding waders – shalder, or oystercatcher to name but one – will be less heard inside our sky.

The island crofter makes fodder in preparation for winter.


It is the start for rich pickings – seeds & wild berries… Earth, animals and men are harvesting the abundance summer let grow. Every morning, our avian friends come sing and feed. The breeding season may have ended for most of them, but I still watch summer’s fledglings perch and feast onto ripe nettles. Sparrow parents are still busy around our trees, fenceposts & daeks (drystone walls).
Yesterday, we too cut our meadow-y patch by the hut, but left a generous quadrat for nature –


Moths, bumblebees and other insects can still feast on flowers’ nectar. Far too aware of their own needs, the garden feels a sanctuary. We have been graced with amazing specimens, such as the Beautiful Golden Y (over seventeen recorded yesterday alone!)

and the too delicate Gold Spot 🙂


Last night, on the last day of the Earth’s summer, Lugh treated us with a flamboyant sense of light, with a true sense of our northern blue;


and watched it set in the comfort of the garden, till twilight overrode crimson.
We felt serene on our final Simmerdim night.

Stars have returned with darker night. Around midnight, I watched in awe Full Sturgeon Moon shine on water.
Lugh’s refraction, using our only satellite, I still felt its might around us…
Time for more tricks!

Now, we too must be preparing for the shortening days.



Filed under 2012, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, colours, earth, festival, geopoetics, home, images, island, north, shore, spirit, writing