Month: December 2020

Cats, Dogs and Christmas

As we approach the end of it, I wanted a recent photo to sum up this dreadful year; but one which had hope in it – and an element of fun, despite the deluge of bad news we seem to face daily. This is not me trying to be heroic. It’s simply a photo taken on Sunday by my wife, Bernie, during a rain … Read More Cats, Dogs and Christmas

Winter walks with camera (3) : the fire in trees

I find a nobility in winter trees. They endure the brutal weather, but show us, in that endurance, their purpose in revealed structure… (140 words, a one-minute read) The inner process of leaf-life to come is laid bare as the rain howls and the wind tests whether this year will be the last. Below the ground, the vast spread of roots has a life … Read More Winter walks with camera (3) : the fire in trees

Deepest Night

We are creatures of cycles; the smaller fitting within the increasingly larger. We may have little conception of the very largest, but the effects of that level of creation trickle down to remind us of our true natures… (750 words, a five-minute read) We live in cycles within cycles. Every day, we wake up to a period of brightness which is essentially the same … Read More Deepest Night

Sails in a upstairs window

There are sails in an upstairs window Whose cloth never tasted the spray Of an ocean long lost in memory And a happier, faraway day ➰ She sailed in his heart to the sunset Where the end of their world fell from sight At ninety degrees to his life-line. And down to a watery night ➰ He waits now, his captain’s badge polished His … Read More Sails in a upstairs window

Winter wanderings with camera (2) Water: form and flow

It flows, seemingly singular… until something intrudes. Then, instead of resisting, it parts at the level of molecules, and recombines on the other side. The bank is the end of one world and the beginning of another; a place of soft contrasts, where organic forms reach the limit of their existence, and begin to dissolve. The water embraces them all. Its force and flow, … Read More Winter wanderings with camera (2) Water: form and flow

The City and the Stars (9-end) : the most peaceful place in the world

The conclusion of the Silent Eye’s extended workshop to Orkney. A visit to the neighbouring island of Rousay. A sad disappointment and a wonderful surprise. (1500 words, a twelve-minute read) (Above: a modern reconstruction of a Neolithic farmer felling a tree with a hand-made stone axe) For our final day, we were off to the Island of Rousay.. I’ve written, elsewhere, about what it’s … Read More The City and the Stars (9-end) : the most peaceful place in the world

The City and the Stars (8) : Longships

The traditional picture of the Vikings – looting, marauding, raping invaders – may not be entirely true of their time on Orkney, though they did rule this gentle archipelago with an iron fist for five hundred years… (1300 words, a ten-minute read) (Above: the glory of St Magnus (Viking) Cathedral, Kirkwall) History can be complex. Patterns of events that fit in one situation may … Read More The City and the Stars (8) : Longships

Winter wanderings with camera (1) mood and meaning

Winter… Most, but not all, of the colours are gone. What remains is a harder edge of the spectrum, where contrast is to be hunted rather than assumed. And texture and shade take on a different level of purpose; to stand in for the vividness of summer’s colour, to beckon our eye to look deeper. The sky is the photographer’s winter friend, donating half … Read More Winter wanderings with camera (1) mood and meaning

The City and the Stars (7) : the Standing Stones of Stenness

The Standing Stones of Stenness are reduced in importance compared with their former status. But 5,000 years ago, they were the stone circle for the Ness of Brodgar spiritual city. Only later, in the period culminating in the deliberate act of self-destruction of the Ness of Brodgar structures, were these stones eclipsed as the ‘guide to the heavens’… (1300 words, a twelve-minute read) The … Read More The City and the Stars (7) : the Standing Stones of Stenness

The City and the Stars (6) : the twice-chosen

To build something so sophisticated, so designed, as the Maeshowe Chambered ‘tomb’, would have required enormous dedication from the people of Orkney. Seen alongside the emerging splendour of the Ness of Brodgar ‘spiritual city’, you get a flavour of the total commitment of these ancient people to their task… (1500 words, a ten-minute read) (Above: The long passageway that leads into and out of … Read More The City and the Stars (6) : the twice-chosen

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