There are some mornings when the world is suddenly sharper, the senses heightened and all clear in the mind, every leaf sharply focussed, every scent evocative. I find these perfect days often correspond to the weather; when an autumn morning feels exactly like I subconsciously believe an autumn morning should Read more…
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I have shared this photo of ridgelines in Highland Perthshire before, in my essay “Trees, A Brief Personal History.” It is a favourite of mine, illustrating how Scottish weather, so oft-derided, can actually increase the beauty of a photograph. Being able to stand on a hillside or, as I do Read more…
Last week I posted a very short ghost story, rather than the longer blog I had intended to share. All that piece needed was some final editing, some smoothing and perhaps a spot of gentle carving, but that was it. Unfortunately I ended up with some sort of virus, a heavy cold that moved down to my chest. Not a problem for writing, thought I. But I was wrong.
As soon as I started the final edits I realised that it was not only my nose and throat that were congested, but my brain and, especially, my word-gland that had also become infected. Simple things became a challenge, words would not spell themselves (I never use a spell-check until the final posting), grammar became tricksome, whole sentences would suddenly lose their way and meander into dark and dank places. The screen, despite being dimmed, was making my head hurt and this, coupled with a cold burning behind my eyes, made me pause.
I probably coughed a little, maybe felt a little sorry for myself, then stopped editing. Instead I posted the ghost story in true Blue Peter fashion; “Here’s one I made earlier.”
Flexibility is something I have only realised the true value of this year. In the past I would have pushed on, Taurean stubbornness convinced I could embroider with a spear, or carve a chess piece with an axe (actually, thinking about it, I might be able to do the second one — axe carving can be surprisingly subtle and delicate at times). When all failed I would brood. (I could win prizes for brooding — I am wont to gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirths, as Howard described Conan possessing.)