Return Crossing

red fishing boat ripples snow on the Cuillin No tea room, but the hum of conversation of men in the back, their jackets luminous, waiting on the ferry. A line of gulls on the harbour wall, and one high above, circling. An engine hums. Diesel drifts across the stillness, a chain turning as the crane […]

Beginner’s mind

sunlight on water the slow turn of a lotus flower Even in the hills, the pure stickiness of this afternoon: a trickle of sweat, so many clouds of flies, the pool at the centre of the garden the splashing of a blackbird. Samye Ling, August 2013

Looking for the Grave of Compton Mackenzie

The long grass is soaking between the graves at Cille Bharra. A late spring, only the yellow of primroses on the slopes above the cemetery and dotted gaily round the stones. We move slowly, reading dates and names. In the centre of the graveyard: three tiny chapels. Bending low into the doorway, a single light […]

The Haar

It comes suddenly in my memory, rolling off the North Sea and catching us unawares. Although it has been known to move slowly and settle, blanketing the whole of a day, or an east coast town, it moves fast at the shore till we’re running and shrieking not just with cold but laughter at the […]

An Evening Walk at Tarskavaig

There’s an hour before the sun goes down. A cloudy evening but from the shore at Tarskavaig I know the light will fade against the backdrop of the Cuillins, with Rum stretching out on the horizon. It’s a fifteen minute drive, the narrow road up over the moor, no other traffic tonight, pausing only in […]