Vignettes and blossoms

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Next to Canongate Kirk on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is a little oasis of a garden, open to and enjoyed by the public, that, filled with birdsong, looked pretty as a picture this afternoon. It’s hard to imagine or describe the measure of tranquility to be enjoyed in this relatively small space in the heart of a busy city.

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The Church (1688) and the Kirkyard are themselves beautiful, and home to a Mercat Cross dated 1128. Calton Hill can be seen from behind the Kirk, and just across the road there’s easy access to Holyrood Park, Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s Seat and – presently – a million Spring blossoms.

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Nearby, too, there’s a distinctive meeting between ancient and modern: the ruins of Holyrood Abbey stand next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Abbey Strand and the Queen’s Gallery; all of these opposite the strikingly different modern architecture of the new Scottish Parliament buildings, (link) the walls of which bear tablets inscribed with some of Scottish history’s poetry. Photographers like me wax lyrical about Edinburgh’s ever-changing skyscapes and the city’s distinctive skyline.

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The five (clickable / swipeable) galleries in this post, each containing ten photos, are the result of just a couple of hour’s encounter with Edinburgh beauty and history in a single afternoon. And of course, as Jiminy Cricket would say: ‘there’s more!’

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Maintaining a smile

Photo by Erick Tang on Unsplash

A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives.

Wendell Berry
The Long-Legged House p.71

I’m grateful today to my dentist, who, along with his excellent team, and his love for philosophy and for poetry, makes the long drive to see them, and even the necessary dental maintenance, always a pleasure.

You know who you are, all of you. Thank you!

Iridescence

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves,
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is …

Mary Oliver
From
One or Two Things

Reading poetry about butterflies in the same morning as more about neurosculpting has somewhat merged the two in my mind. I imagine neural pathways lighting up in my brain with much the same sort of iridescence we see in a butterfly’s wings. That we do imagine such things is miraculous. That a butterfly emerges from the tight discomforts of the chrysalis towards ‘loping flight … delicately’ is more than miraculous: it is a mystery beyond all adequate explaining. 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. I wonder what a butterfly might experience of itself? How much could a butterfly possibly appreciate about its own beauty? How much do we, about our own?

Honestly!

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‘Where nature’s wild forces collide with rugged landscapes, we are inspired to create …’

Honestly – all you need to do is pen a few poetic lines and you can just reel me in! Possessed of a lifetime allergy to alcohol, this may offer a soothing winter’s evening chest-warming. I hope so. I’ve just ordered a (gorgeous looking) bottle. Photos and report-back to follow (obviously 😉). Now to look for some more Scottish poetry …

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