On the lovely East Coast

Dunbar Castle

iPhone 14 Pro Max | Nikon D850 and 135mm f2 DC

Then suddenly the Mole felt a great awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror – indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy – but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august presence was very, very near.

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Spring coupled with coastal beauty stirs heart, mind, body and soul. Here on Scotland’s East Coast – no matter how long and grey the preceding winter – Spring reacquaints a person with what it means to stand in awe and wonder.

Dunbar Harbour
Seacliff and Bass Rock
Tantallon Castle
Tantallon Castle Sunset

Layered sunset


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iPhone 11 Pro Max

And it seemed that the wind stilled and that stars above our heads prepared themselves for the night lighter’s quiet encouragement to twinkle. A single lamp behind a window animated a framed oil painting in much the same way that toys leap and dance around a nursery in the moments before nanny tidies them into the stillness of the night hours. And the painting, and the toys, and the sunset watchers alike breathe softly, profoundly aware of the gift of a great, deep, silence – a silence that is itself an abiding friendship; for all of our many busynesses, words and music are steadied and reassured when they find their treasured place between sunrise and sunset, sunset and sunrise, stillness and silence – glad companions …

Have you noticed forgetting even the most piercing, wind-driven cold when faced by astonishing beauty? Friends have been sending me glorious photos of sunrise and sunsets in Edinburgh. Two drove South for a happy day in Lakeland today, and as we watched the sun go down, albeit that we had to watch our footing on ice, I don’t think any of us felt the cold! 


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The things of the heart


There are so many colours in the things of the heart. And so much warmth and light. One much loved corner of Edinburgh tonight celebrated a gathering of close-knit souls, some present in person, some physically absent but no less present, in the circle that this colour, warmth and light creates – uniquely – on every such occasion. And in that circle I continually rediscover the meaning of the word ‘awe’ – with profound thankfulness.

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Full Moon and Jupiter


Many are the magical sights to be seen in Edinburgh. Here, above a Holyrood structure aptly named Dynamic Earth, is a view of Salisbury Crags, formed over forty million years ago by the effects of Arthur’s Seat, the volcano now quietly presiding over them. And above and beyond still further, around 226,000 miles above and beyond to be a bit more precise, is tonight’s Full Moon. Oh, and there’s Jupiter! At their closest points Earth and Jupiter are 365 million miles away from each other. That I can even begin to perceive all of this at this time and in this place gives me a direct encounter with something beyond the reach of adequate explanation: awe.

A cloud of interests


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There wasn’t
time enough for all the wonderful things
I could think of to do

in a single day. Patience
comes to the bones
before it takes root in the heart

as another good idea.
I say this
as I stand in the woods

and study the patterns
of the moon shadows,
or stroll down into the waters

that now, late summer, have also
caught the fever, and hardly move
from one eternity to another.

Mary Oliver
From ‘Patience’
New and Selected Poems
Volume Two

Happy September! I’m having a quiet evening and feeling peaceful and mellow.

I’ve been thinking, too, about my automatically generated ‘tag cloud’ here, and of how it gives a pretty good account of some of my chief interests … inner life, contemplation, Edinburgh, poetry …

Autumn and winter will be warmed by an array of interests and occupations like these.


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To get close-up to Springtime unfolding in nature is to encounter experience of awe and wonder. Every tiny hair and stem and vibrating atom invites me to deep contemplation: why such beauty? Why such variety? Why me, and this capacity that I have, and you have, to experience our environment in such deeply affecting ways? And my sense of gratitude, my awareness and observation, my being here, reaching out and reaching in – is something akin to love …

Can you see what I saw?

Anil Seth tells me that the colours I see are perceptions created by my own brain; that not every living thing is able to ‘see’ a rainbow as I can.

Iridescence: windinmywheels.com
8 December 2021

… and I wonder whether you can ‘see’ what I saw this morning? Visual imagery within the context of space – indoors or outdoors – is among the gifts to my life I most prize. The more I learn about the imagery my eyes and brain work together to produce, the more I find myself in awe of what it is to be a human person. Gifts – like this rainbow, and all the thoughts of ‘promise’ that our stories about rainbows represent to us – just keep arriving in our lives, unannounced and unexpected. Again and again the spiritual teachers of humankind encourage their fellows to ‘look within,’ and eventually we come to recognise that doing so is an absolute prerequisite for our appreciation of ‘looking without.’