It all started with a shameless star, low (at around 6 degree elevation) but present in my Nordic sky.
It fills the heart with spirit.
And what a prologue to exciting times ahead. As a kind of ritual, there is a hill I love to walk on every first day of every year’s primal month. It bears the name of the Wart of Scousburgh.
I leave da buggy by the parish’s Eiffel Tower, and wander free among ravens, January’s cold air and ephemeral blue. The views always fill my heart and eyes with awe and humility.
Fitful Head, just under 300m above ocean level, stands as a vigil to the SW corner of the island.
Such kind of wandering notably has the power to give you perspective for the months ahead.
And from my hilltop to my favourite stretch of sand – Ninian’s Isle Tombolo – for a first reunion with shells, pastel sky and rollers, like a rite of passage into a realm where we wander before sunset, before ice grips fingers and roads.
There, kindred spirits can be met, and marvel at such everlasting (even though shape shifting) magical place.
2016 began with magic. Although I don’t usually do “resolutions”, I broke the rule and have endeavoured to add Norwegian to my bow. It makes absolute sense 🙂
Let me take this moment to thank you all for your follows, your “likes” and comments during the past year; and to
Wish you a wonderful year ahead. May 2016 realise many of your desires, dreams, hopes, with, above all, good health and happiness.
May that star shine around you.
Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, blogging, celebration, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, ninian, north, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, winter
That bridge of sand at St Ninian knows so many prints of our feet. Human or not, we tread its length in and out, trace & retrace like sand weavers…
The other day, I took a friend after lunchtime. The sky was right, and we fancied to share our marks with sand and shells, light… Atlantic.
So we walked it, came heart to heart with waterline… Reflected with clouds in mirror – smiled at the sun & sea of jade.
And if we felt alone on this vast expanse of freedom, our journey back to the mainland was crowned with a fabulous encounter in the form of two Arctic Skuas that came to add their prints to ours. My friend spotted them first from the distance. She knew my heart would pounce, and lens would wish to immortalise them. So I approached them with caution, and deep respect.
What a moment. Eye to eye with their majesty – heart to heart with our world. Such earthly encounter.
Their tolerance allowed a couple of shots before they decided to leave the sand for a moment… At every opportunity, such meeting feels a privilege, so natural and whimsical.
I still feel grateful to my friend for pointing me out to such moment.
And as we continued to imprint that fabulous sand bar, other wings on passage ennobled our afternoon, in the form of our swallows of the sea, locally known as tirricks, or Arctic Terns, those phenomenal travellers that come to grace our skies every summer.
How I love this point of passage.
Filed under 2015, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, birds, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, ninian, north, scotland, seabird, shetland, shore, spirit, world, writing
There’s a tremor in the island.
A she-jarl emerged off a long line of masculine “tradition” of guizer jarls… She made headlines in newspapers, and I hear even in London.
She made us dream last Friday night.
Here, to celebrate such event, a humble triptych of poetry.
For Lesley S., first ever woman jarl in Shetland history.
Music inside sand,
Undo twilight to let us sing,
Hold torches high for a galley & a woman,
Aud, unafraid of world’s fire.
By the Atlantic we gathered,
blue-eyed dragon looked to Venus
inside a night fit for
a realm, where
as one with
the edge of
shells and sand, to
celebrate Aud The Minded
who captained her boat
till its end –
brandished her axe
before our world,
a Jarl & her
arms of the
dragon, by Skeo Clett,
wild Atlantic, where stars gather
above our heads, home of
the human fire snake
that comes to die
in boat’s belly –
by your side,
through day and
night around da Ness,
fire unites kindred
spirits, fills cups
till final reel.
stood among its flames,
led your own crowd
to edge of waves,
and sang the
in the arms of the dragon.
SMUHA is Shetland’s South Mainland Fire Festival, held annually South of Lerwick.
A “jarl” is a viking chief.
“Skeo Clett” is the name of the rocky feature on the northern side of St Ninian’s tombolo (sandbar that links the Isle of Saint Ninian to the mainland).
A “galley” is a viking longship.
“da Ness” is the way folk call the Parish of Dunrossness (the southern part of Shetland’s main island, itself known as “South Mainland”)
© Nat Hall 2015
Programme image courtesy of smuha.org where more information can be found 🙂
Filed under 2015, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, boats, celebration, festival, fire, geopoetics, home, images, island, ninian, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, verse poetry, winter, world, writing
It only takes a moment.
Be in the right place at the right time. Stand up and feel.
Plenitude found in one of those precious capsules of happiness when we align to earth and sea – feel at one with our homeworld.
As life allows, such communion with our land- (or sea-) scapes should not feel privileged moments, but natural ones.
My nearest safe haven of now remains my local favourite beach. As a longer weekend loomed on the calendar, I took full advantage of it.
So I wandered down to the shore and locked my heart into the now
Here, my homeworld in panoramic 🙂
I had the whole of the beach, sea and sky to myself. I listened to the wind and waves in the shoormal, where sand and shells shift.
Sheer plenitude in such moments, topped up by magic northern lights way past twilight.
Thank you for all this wonderful magic!
Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, aurora borealis, celebration, colours, earth, festival, fire, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, ninian, north, shetland, shore, spirit, wind, winter, writing
I love how bottles reach my shore through time. Here, a new message from Canada.
FROM INSIDE THE BOTTLE
With kind thanks to its author, Debbie Okun Hill 🙂
Filed under 2014, 60N, atlantic, Canada, celebration, geopoetics, ninian, poet, poetry, poets, project, review, shetland, spirit, verse, verse poetry, world, writing
What better way to start off a brand new year but by feeling on top of the world?
This is exactly what I did yesterday, with Debbie and Mathew, as they turned sunset chasers for a day. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a relatively calm – though crisp – day (at sea level!) so they came back to my latitude to enjoy a mystery tour of my favourite local hill, Mossy Hill & The Ward of Scousburgh, to look at the year ahead in a wonderful 360 degree perspective. They had no idea where they were heading to…
Although I had hoped for a flamboyant sunset, the oncoming front swallowed the end of the first dying day of the new year. However, that dusky blue is unbeatable. We braved the breeze – we stood still for a while and marvelled at the Atlantic before us. Later, we pushed it to the edge of our known world to marvel at Ninian Sands clad in silver. Perfect start to 2014!
my three images
winter style Shetland blue
Happy New Year to you all. May 2014 shine in your eyes and hearts every day 🙂
Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, ninian, north, shetland, shore, spring, wind, wishes, world, writing
in absence of your human warmth,
I feel heart from wandering
silent snowflakes, still
framed icicles from a sky,
never makes 2.
Will be looking for
long shadows, howling echoes
around Yule, since you ran
away from the
Sandwick, 8 Dec 2013