Tag Archives: Simmerdim


What happens between equinoxes remains a mystery.

…A black hole or stravaig in a desert where time locks itself in, as bubbles inside surf, or footprints lost through tides and gales.

Many walks done and gone. I still remember the Vernal Equinox, as March gave way to light and warmth. When birds returned to the island, and jenny wrens perched on roses to sing their songs, joined by blackbirds at dawn and dusk. A song so powerful, explosive and whimsical, you need to turn back and listen.

And as May comes with its unbound clemence, and shiny bright, stars vanish in the blue of night, as Beltane gives way to summer.

Summer, summer, da Simmer Dim, as our sky turns an opera house. Our island sings in tussock grass, around the bays – above our heads. It is a time filed with bounty, as our summer guests fish and hunt. A time where life fills with colours, where chicks grow feathers outwith dark. Darkness unknown to so many of us and fledlings until Arcturus reappears in late July. Our Atlantic and sense of North glow back orange. We then reignite our candles. In this mystical universe, the very few urban dwellers welcome July with refracting light in the bay. They do not question the great clock – the astronomical delight as da mirkin wins back its way. mirkin, murky times lie ahead…

Some walk through time on land, at sea.

As August wanes in honey gold, our most westerly land beacon feels a poltergheist at sunset. Foula, foul, fugl Island, with its bewildering cliff tops, redefines ife, geometry. Light as we knew from Simmer Dim – our nightless nights – lose in power, intensity. Our path to hairst and the autumnal equinox becomes clearer.

It is when night unveils its kaleidoscope of gales and stars. And we look more carefully, auroral glows in between clouds. Our pace hastens as we go home to the fire back in our hearths. Too soon the tides will speak out loud, and auroras trapped inside clouds will signal a new phase across the season. Few gannets fly, fish in the bay. Rose flowers gave way to their own fuits. The overgrowth lost its lushness… A lower sun shines through few leaves from alders or strong willows. That sense of blue tarnished with grey has lost its way. Deep purple hills back to bracken, bare and so brown.

September stepped in as a thief. October followed in its grace. Each wake-up call from our bedside triggers the start of each sunrise. Each minute lost now and regained, days have shortened and yet, still bright. I hear Sawhain’s still a long shot… Our winged friends wander south and south. For us, dwellers of thre island, we need to prepare for dark times.

Now, the island can sleep in peace, with auroras, constellations, stars and comets – a twany moon there as a friend.

1 Comment

Filed under 2019, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, aurora borealis, autumn, birds, blogging, change, colours, community, earth, geopoetics, home, images, life, light, north, roots, scotland, seabird, shetland, shore, simmerdim, spirit, summer, wildlife, wind, world, writing


Planet’s climax with nearly 19 hours of light, as our sun drew closest to the island… Stars have vanished. Fields have turned so cacophonous life is screaming everywhere.
Exhilarating moment.
Here, a couple of images to illustrate such moment, as well as a piece I shared last night with my fellow writers fae da #Westside.

It is entitled Simmerdim



And talking of Simmerdim, a new piece also featured in my local literary journal, The New Shetlander (Simmer Issue No.268). The poem is entitled Elevations, and was inspired by both the beauty of Shetland and Mr Jakob Jakobsen.




Happy Midsummer/Midwinter, everyone 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, celebration, colours, earth, fire, geopoetics, home, images, island, north, poet, poetry, poets, shetland, simmerdim, spirit, verse poetry, world, writing

nearing da simmerdim

Walk around Lerwick past midnight on a fine “simmerdim” night – or azure in colour, and marvel at the first astronomical light.
It is barely 01 something in the morning.
That array of magical pale pink-orange begins to glow against Bressay’s skyline.

And as I leave the harbour, revellers disappear in between taxis…
Driving southbound to my 60N latitude, that daring sky blushes further. Azure & orange taint my eastern horizon.
It is both delicate and magical.



No wonder why our breeding birds makes most of such light to rear their chicks. Light is paramount to find food…

Oh, and the sunrise looked spectacular too!




Leave a comment

Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, celebration, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, north, shetland, shore, simmerdim, spirit, world, writing

Walking on the wild side

For days on end, we learn to walk. Then we taste rubber on tarmac and we lose purpose of our feet. Too long I aimed to lace my boots and reconvene with wild peatlands.
I just did that yesterday with a friend who made me trek through a palette of earth colours. For this, I crossed the “wild haired sea” in between 9 and 10 a.m. to find the island man calls Yell.
Very few folk inhabit it, but it harbours both hearts and dreams – a plethora of hidden gems that await you on either side of fenced tarmac.

So we gathered off Ulsta Pier and headed north for a wander. Yell first looks so desolate from its west side, way past West Sandwick. A uniformed titanium sky (though still deprived from steekit mist – or summer fog) let us admire this enormous blanket of peat.

Friday belonged to the heather, cotton grass, yarrow, tormentil, as we wandered west to the sea. In this corner of wilderness, each burn (stream) meanders to a loch.
To my surprise, late violets still flourish with bog asphodel – red throated divers display all their love in a spirit of true courtship, and we watch them though our child’s eyes.
All around us, meadow pipits and skylarks sing. The odd curlew calls from afar.
As we followed the first loch’s edge, my ears are distracted by calls I had not heard for quite a while: a pair of Merlins hunt on the edge of skyline. My heart sings wild! For a moment, we paused and watched.
So many nests through hillside grass, I always dread to flush feathers… By the edge of the second loch, a gang of bonxies (great skuas) – bachelors – desalt in style, as they come to splash in numbers. They must keep feathers in pristine conditions to ensure their own survival.
And then, the gorge.
Its entrance show first sight of fence. For a minute, I thought it blocked, but my friend smile. “They try to grow trees once again,” he smiled. Young sycamore and hazelnut? Soil is lush inside the narrow carved bedrock.

So we followed the gentle stream that would lead us straight to the sea. I never cease to be amazed by the power of elements. Ice carved the whole of those islands, water erodes with time and wind, and yet we walked and hopped across that burn and imagined a gigantic glacier above! A summer breeze carries the sounds of passing birds – wrens or tirricks (arctic terns) echo against ledges of rock.
We nominate a high level rock by The Bend for a much deserved spot of lunch. The view is clearly breath taking! My last souvenir of a gorge (except for Ardèche & Verdon, which obey to a huger scale!) takes me back to Upper Provence off the hamlet of Opédette.
Strangely, my heart retraced memories of lavender & wild thyme!
We continued till dumped boulders override its magic lushness. Two hours of wild trek through peat bogs, mires and wild grass! We sat and marvelled at the sea. We shared dark chocolate and apples, caught our own breath in this ocean of silence, only distracted by the breeze, two inquisitive seals and wrens. Idyllic “now”!

Whilst I attempt to capture a wren through the lens, my friend dips his line in the sea. The tide flows in…
Yet soon we must wander back to tarmac. As we opted to walk along the South edge of the second loch, we would return by its opposite side. I must confess walking through the peatlands is hard work. My hiking pole is a true friend!
But first, as we ascended parts of the gorge, I enjoyed a Birdseye view of the place. We stepped back on stones to cross water. It feels the land Tolkien imagined for Frodo – it feels the desert from Giono’s southern alpine wonders.

Every footstep feels a little heavier as time eludes us in heather. On the approach of the second loch, I see a house, and my friend slows his pace a little more. We hopped on secluded beaches, paused for a while to catch our breath, and continued till we steeple chased that first fence.
My eyes, riveted to flowers, dare not look back. That house grows bigger as we tread through the mires (marshy patches of land) that feels like a mattress under your foot.
Tarmac’s in sight, with my friend’s car.

Above our heads, blue overrode titanium grey. We smiled at the final gate. We have made it – four hours of some wild stravaig (wandering) through a corner of remote wilderness. “By 6,” he said, “we shall be home where we can enjoy dinner!” He did not lie.
The evening flew like a skylark, and far too soon, we parted from each other at Ulsta Pier. On the way out, I caught the sunset on Yell Sound, in a true blue Simmerdim style.

This day is tattooed in my heart.

And, oh, as for my birds’ list:


Leave a comment

Filed under 2013, 60N, Arcania, birds, celebration, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, north, shetland, simmerdim, writing

June in images

And June just went in flames.

With it, the last hurdle to da Simmerdim – time when our star dips in and out and leaves our nights starless and blue (or grey, depending on the mist/cloud cover!)

High summer has begun, and with it, a slow return towards darkness… By mid-July, stars will reappear in my sky.

Meantime, here is a selection of images, moments in time, that encapsulated the sixth month.



















Leave a comment

Filed under 2013, 60N, Arcania, atlantic, celebration, colours, geopoetics, home, images, island, life, north, review, shetland, shore, simmerdim, spirit