Tag Archives: wild


starlings in black n white

October, the month of heaven & grace

Marvellous moments of lightness, privileged times among paired swans, preening and sharing love in grace at last light… Statuesque haigries (herons) around our bays, the joy to reconvene with our beautiful Earth. I observe them from the distance, with that humble feeling, so intimate the moment. The light is soft, nearly sunset. The air is charged with tenderness and love in that autumnal sense of rawness…

Intimate. So privileged, I feel.

Sensual, magical.

This north end corner of Spiggie Loch gradually welcomes them back, as the Arctic winter dictates. They will flock in and preen, share a few weeds with a few ducks – gather on the shore for bathing and arrange their feathers, and roost by twos… A bit of love inside a world so few can taste.

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Excellent news from Nordland Publishing! A few days ago, I received a message from a blog reader regretting not to be able to order Compass Head directly from her own island-continent, Australia. I relayed the message to my publishers in Norway, who, not only were concerned, but have now made for amends. And they did more.

Now, this geopoetics in action and in full motion. That peerie yoal has already travelled far and wide. Let it reach YOU.

“Row, row your boat” as the tune says…

compass-head-book-cover From now on, dear reader, you can now reach out to Compass Head DIRECTLY from practically WORLDWIDE, including Australia, China, India, Brazil, as well as other amazing places on Earth! So jump on the boat and, fair wind, sailors, and join in all those who have already enjoyed the ADVENTUROUS journey from The Songs from the North 🙂 Just CLICK ON the LINKs!


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jardin secret

A woman’s world is her own heart. From the roadside, nothing is visible.

So many times – in between Central and Sandsayre – have I driven & walked past those high walls without notice… Yet in summer, there is a sign, that womans worldreads “Open to the public”. One has to stop and dare to step through the high wooden doors. The creator of this secret Eden on 60N has shimmering eyes and she answers to the forename Margaret. Her heart beats as she leads you through to her secret garden. Very soon you forget you are actually on an island battered by gales, storms or other relentless winds from August to May! All is so secretly guarded by tall fences of all kinds – rock, panels or palettes. Every thing will do in order to grow her world’s plant kingdom… And I heard some trekked as far as from South Africa.

Her welcome is unparalleled. Her verve is insatiable. She speaks of her passion for her vegetal realm you feel enchanted in your heart. It feels you are surrounded by angels 🙂

Some forty years have been necessary to reach this stage of growth. Margaret does not count, even though she is bound to the planet’s own agenda and seasonal calendar – Mother Earth’s own rhythms. Hospitalisation even does not deter our intrepid gardener – she is a survivor who lives for her own world, with her husband & cats. A grand tour of the place is necessary to enjoy the full extent of this woman’s work.

And if you are invited to make a small donation, as a tn’s marked, you will only show your own appreciation of a gardener’s sheer passion in the face of such Nordic latitude. And yet, so possible.

Away from salt and wind, amazing gardens emerge from the roughest of soils and elements. It is a joy & sheer pleasure to step inside!

angelheart of the greenpathwaysinto the bluegardener's homei am in the garden



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Le passant


The animal kingdom is amazing – follow the herd, pack, gaggle or flock for love, the next generation & life.
Never mind money or politics… We, the human kind forgot about nature’s fundamental laws, and invented invisible barriers. The notion of wandering has been caged ever since the concepts of passport control & money were introduced.
And yet the latter is a passer-by. We all have a different – sometimes peculiar relationship with it. Take it away and we would live like princes & princesses. The pursuit of well-being instead of greed & suffering. Rousseau & Thoreau notably wrote clear thoughts on such issue.
Recently, our S2 pupils experienced the wild as part of their John Muir Awards with Curriculum for Excellence. Their reactions ranged from humility to exhilaration when faced with the vastness & majesty of their surroundings. They connected (or reconnected) with our world. They felt part of it.
To the image of the wheatear, I sometimes wish I were a bird, and I would fly above rivers, glens & mountains, somewhat carefree (avoiding predation!) as Earth seasons dictate.

Le passant

Au petit royaume de papier,
de métal émaillé de
il entre & sort,
tel un intrus ou un
l’ombre du trottoir,
sans odeur,
pli ou
Il va et vient tel
un passant sans se soucier des
réverbères, de la couleur
d’un monde amer,
des boutiquiers,
tant il
aux rires



At the peerie paper kingdom,
molten metal copper &
he slides through
true intruder,
shameless book
on prized pavement –
he comes & goes
he, passerby, oblivious to light or
limelight, shopkeepers,
tricksters or
as he
laughs at
the wind’ s laughters.

© Nat Hall 2014

Young people’s connections with encountering our world


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that something more

That something more I felt yesterday as I wandered around the edge of my island with kindred spirits… Respite from a violent storm, Beaufort 9-12 winds had made a truce for Saturday and let winter light shine from sunrise to sunset. Arcania looked so magical in spite of the big sea that made boulders ramble from the shoormal to the shore. I felt at one with my wild world! Salt filled everything: the air, our hair, tainted lipstick on all lips… Our spirits.

If the land – from peatlands to meadows – have reached levels of water saturation, I & my fellow companions welcomed that day of light, which is so rare this January. So we stood still and admired the great earthly show that unfolded before our eyes.

Heart warmer, as that storm resumed with even more vehemence from this morning.

Here, a a peerie string of images as a token of light.

Namaste 🙂20140126-133541.jpg


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discover ALBALAPSE

Got contacted by Alba Lapse earlier on today via Twitter. They shared a wonderful video promoting the magic of Scotland. Fell in love with their poetics, even though not the whole of Scotland is featured – but I love the spirit 🙂

Enjoy their work here: ALBALAPSE – A Timelapse Film of Scotland – ‘Proof of Concept’


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panto poster Weeks of hard work, madness, laughters and devotion to theatre, with a different twist yet again since Ignition with NTS, are gradually making their way towards the lights of the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick for the purpose of solid entertainment. Since I am bound by secrecy, I shall simply add, this is  total madness! A great classic revamped with a plethora of hilarious moments, blended by The Open Door Drama group, written and directed by wir Izzy Swanson. It is now coming to fruition and let’s hope Shetland  comes to laugh with us, as the festive season gets under way.

It has been a fabulous adventure so far.  Time to break a leg 🙂

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Filed under 2013, 60N, celebration, december, home, island, lerwick, project, shetland, winter, Yuletide

the puffin show

the puffin show [1]

“Anybody ho-home?”

"Hey, Basil, who's that dude?"

“Hey, Basil, who’s that dude?”

"Oh, man, really need to look the part..."

“Oh, man, really need to look the part…”

"et voilà"

“et voilà”



Better, so much better than any reality show… They  come to delight us every summer, they preen and argue with their world and they add so much colour and meaning to our life. Every picture tells its story. Today I reconvened to the top of a great headland with a friend, and we pointed our lenses to any flying wonder that came to land before our eyes. We were not disappointed. Here, my afternoon in a nutshell, pictorial, with a minimum of words… Really, what comes to mind when adding …”Will you look at that, such a fabulous landing!” It really was a fabulous day, and I felt very privileged to watch and stand among those notoriously gorgeous “parrots of the sea” 🙂

"Did you see that... did you see that clown taking off in such manner? Man, he was a real haggis!"

“Did you see that… did you see that clown taking off in such manner? Man, he was a real haggis!”

"kaaaaawwwwwww" (1 word for 'awesome' in puffin tongue...)

“kaaaaawwwwwww” (1 word for ‘awesome’ in puffin tongue…)

"Just give me five minutes, will you???"“Just give me five minutes, will you???”

the puffin show [8]

“Look at me, humans, I’m awesome!”


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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:


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(treeds) other hidden treasures

treedsTreads come in bundles…

Here, a peerie collection of images from early April,

with two marvellous links to explore: SHETLAND HANDSPUN and JuSt Shetland – wonderworld, where the natural emerges from spring, spinner’s or weaver’s hands… And when I think of Treeds (Threads), I think of that boannie collection of poetry by Laureen Johnson too.

and now, to images from voar (spring)  🙂

courting sandy loo apr 2013

courting ringed plovers

greylags at lift off

greylags at lift off

talking maalies

quarelling fulmars (maalies!)

wandering shalders

wandering shalders (oystercatchers)

sunbathing selkies

sunbathing selkies

sheep in voar

just before lambing

camouflaged curlew

camouglaged curlew

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