Friday 18 November 2022

November Rain

The ground can't take any more.

Splashing through a field with the dog, glad of wellies. Earthworms drowning, writhing out the ground. Thousands of them. 

It's been raining for weeks.

The water flowing on any slope, the local burn with its banks burst, water swirling around the base of lampposts on the path, now underwater.

My jacket hasn't dried out properly for days and it's started to smell.

The dog looks like she's had enough of this walk. Happy to go back now? she seems to be saying.

I throw her a ball and the splashes it makes remind me of playing rugby as a teenager. Rolling round in the mud and freezing water in just a thin jersey. Character building.

But it's not the rain that gets to you. It's the darkness. When the streetlights go off and it suddenly gets noticeably darker, because sunrise doesn't mean much on days when the cloud is so dark and dense. And then at half past three the curtains are drawn again.

I'm reminded of comments on an emigrants forum years ago. An American woman who had moved to the West of Scotland was warning her compatriots off.

'I'm fine with rain,' one replied, 'Scotland will be OK.'

I could picture the original poster's haunted look as she replied back.

'You don't understand. It's not the rain. It's the DARKNESS.'

The poor woman was not coping too well.

Och well, don't worry. Just another three months of this to go.

Wednesday 2 November 2022

The Four Seasons: Summer

The fact is all seasons are wonderful, for different reasons.

So before we talk about summer, let’s look at them.

There’s autumn, the time of year for waterfalls and forests, leaves sun caught in beautiful death, of roaring stags dark with peat...

Winter, the time of year of drunken oblivion in the dark, the flashing of a woman’s eyes in a whirling dance...

Spring, the time of year for colour to return, splashes of wildflower like herbs for the eyes...

But at last,

Summer comes in endless daylight.

Newgale beach:

Here in the north it is the time of year of barrelling down empty roads in bright sunshine at 4am, listening to your favourite driving tunes,

Listen to summer driving tune: Lab 4 — Reformation:

the time of ploys and adventures by sea and by hill,

Light winds on the Island Peaks Race:

the time of sweat and smiles,

of insect bites,

of blood and flesh,

the time of marriages, of brides stunning in white,

the groom her necessary accessory

children playing in the street, endless twilight echoing to their games,

the time we take family holidays to the coast,

the time we go

Skipping Barefoot Through the Heather.