Bitter and beautiful


more @gardenstudiogram | click to enlarge

I’ve been meditating on the juxtaposition of two words in my mind today: bitter and beautiful.

Bitter – because this afternoon’s cold recognises no barrier in five layers of clothing and a felt hat. I am chilled right through to my very bones.

Beautiful – because this is Holyrood, Edinburgh, a place where both natural and humanly-fabricated elements of the city appear to revel in their own illuminated loveliness. A bit like the light in some of Rembrandt’s glorious portraits, one witnesses something of a warm glow, from the inside out. Soul-shining.

It’s an odd and delightful sort of thing, isn’t it, that the two can co-exist in the same moment? – the extreme discomfort of bitter cold, coloured and warmed by awestruck appreciation of the bared beautiful. It’s only a little while since these trees were dressed in all their best finery, peaceably overlooking the delights of garden parties in the great Palace of Holyroodhouse. Today the bitter cold has nipped the last of the leaves at their stems. Fallen and blown, they will now nourish the ground of future’s green glory. Limbs are bared as they face the months of winter, just as our human frame and spirit is bared – and ultimately nourished and grown – by assorted forms of all that we describe and experience as bitter.

All life has deep roots – temporal and eternal. We, with cities and trees, learn that bitter and beautiful work together. And those of us who have learned, and are learning this well, will wait quietly for Spring. Patient, and shining, from the inside out.


archive – a list of all earlier posts


more @gardenstudiogram

Edinburgh looks and feels beautiful to me in all weathers and seasons but, my goodness, the smiling crowds, the street music, the flowers, the blue sky and sunshine, the relaxation of mask-wearing rules – all these add up to the city’s being a more than usually fab place to be right now. I’m endlessly fascinated by how much sunlight and fresh air lifts everyone’s spirits. Like communal liberation 😊🌱


Build it, and it will come
Empty out a drawer for someone
They will fill it
Share your work every day
People will find it
Walk and your legs will strengthen
Open your hours and your days will fill
Speak as though you’ve arrived
And reality will realign

Brianna Wiest
Salt Water

Spring’s awakening in Edinburgh is wonderfully underway and I’ve been out and about early. Delicious coffee and cake @kates_edinburgh preceded one of my favourite sorts of morning: an amble – in no particular rush and in no particular direction. This is a city that ‘offers itself to your imagination’ (as Mary Oliver might have said of it) – no matter where one roams. Birdsong everywhere speaks today of their having ‘arrived’ (again) and of the energetic building of nests in empty spaces. A beautiful new coffee shop shares its work every day and ‘people will find it.’ My legs do grow stronger, and hours are containers for rich colours and conversations. I speak of my thankfulness and – awakening thereby – the realities of a new season do indeed realign.’

Ne’er cast a clout …

Photo at Pexels

Ne’er cast a clout
‘til May is out

I acquired a mildly tanned visage when reading in my garden earlier this week. Tonight there’s frost in the air and a decidedly chilly few days forecast. But brighter, lighter, warmer days are on the horizon now and I stand ready to welcome every one of them.


A hugely rewarding and satisfying day, but every muscle in my body aches tonight after a sunshine-inspired bout of extended Spring cleaning – indoors and out. Tomorrow I shall try to follow Nature’s way. Budding leaves and flowers take things slowly … 🌱☀️☕️