Anger, Feeling a Little Helpless

If we did not look closely, we would be forgiven for thinking that this world is fuelled by anger, hate and rage. These are the things that garner column inches, headlines, ticker tape and Breaking News!, these outlets rarely seem to want to show the happy things, the kind things, the good things, except as an afterthought, as a “…and finally”. This is wrong.

Then there are some people who spend a large proportion of their time trying to share their thoughts, their knowledge and their kindness with the world. These people are all too easily silenced by those who shout loudest and cruellest. (more…)

Edinburgh, Spring, Paths, and Empathy

I am in Edinburgh for a day more before I retreat back into the north once again. One of the beautiful things about currently living at the top tip of Scotland is that spring is later there – the trees were only just unfurling as I left, just over a week ago, the first crop of fluffy, yellow-gaped sparrowlings only just emerging from beneath the eaves and behind gutters.

Millennium Clock Selfie

Millennium Clock Selfie

Having a late spring is no bad thing when one can always travel south to advance the seasons. Down here in the capital things are further along, summer is a guest rapidly approaching, the sun carrying warmth, battling with the chill wind. Soon she will win and time will move along, in the direction it is most known for. (more…)

Trees, a Brief Personal History

I recently read this piece, Relict Tree, by Sally Huband. I try and keep up with everything posted on The Island Review (weirdly I still see myself as an islander). It is a go-to site for interesting comment and well-worded articlery (not really a word, but this is my blog, my rules). I have also followed Sally on twitter for a while now, and have also very much enjoyed keeping up with her marvellous nature diary, Rain Geese and Selkies.

Trees, Bracken and Fungi, Scotland

Birch and Hazel Woodland, Caithness

This particular piece started me thinking, not for the first time, about my own relationship with trees — its origins and constant, continuing importance in my life. In Relict Tree (go read it now, if you haven’t already) one of the crucial lines for me is this:

“Such was the speed of our family’s move to Shetland that I didn’t consider what it might mean to live without the quotidian comfort of trees.”

I moved to Orkney when I was eight, my parents choosing more or less the same reasons Sally goes on to give for her family’s own move — the quality of life, the different speed at which it is lived, an excellent place to raise children, the omnipresence of nature. These reasons have shaped me and my whole ethos.

(more…)

Comfort Circles

Over the last few months I have started several (dozens) pieces detailing my own personal opinions on the upcoming independence referendum here in Scotland.

Dozens.  Honestly. (37 – I just counted. This makes 38). (EDIT: Now 39).

Each has failed to please me.  Each was good, precise, entirely true and fair yet each seemed too small, too insignificant, too focussed on one aspect of the debate or too many.  And each was also far too long.

As I edit my tales and scribblings here in the far north of Scotland (over eight hours on the train from Edinburgh) I realise this inability to write a punchy, snappy essay may not be a bad thing. I would like to believe it shows that I, like millions of others, have listened, read, researched, questioned, digested and processed all we can in relation to the upcoming referendum.

I am, like those other millions, approaching this whole issue with the gravitas it deserves.

(more…)