In this world silenced by a terrorist disease, skylarks still sing above an early April hissing gale.
In this part of the main island, where Sandness looks lost inside haze, tussock grass yields, yet those birds we call laverick have returned as lairds o’da braes – elevated above da tun an da scattald (human dwellings and open fields where grazing’s shared among crofters…).
They will defy the harshest gust, ignore that brutal tongue from gales to sing to blueness and the sun.
To each passing of cirrus clouds, they do not know the world’s locked down, as they ascend among ravens, oblivious to material us.
They have returned in their hundreds to the daresay of each hillside.
On this Monday lost in April, this sky has turned cacophonous, as hillsides home song of skylarks, that dare to ignore gusts from gales…
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.
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