Layered sunset


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! 


Happy Easter

more @gardenstudiogram

Quiet joy of early morning Easter Sunday – before a day full of life and energy in the delightful company of surprise visitors. So some lovely meals, a tour of Edinburgh’s ‘underground city,’ another of the Castle in warm sunshine and (for me, deeply moving) sight of ‘The Honours of Scotland’ (link) which include the crown that once adorned the head of Mary Queen of Scots. Finally, onwards and upwards for sunset on Calton Hill. All this added up to our having walked so far and for so many hours that three pairs of feet are quite worn out! That’s the joy of life’s ‘Eastertides’ in a million different ways – the gifts of ‘new life surprise’ (and – after a good night’s sleep, reenergised feet, I hope!) 🐣

The whole earth is the tomb of heroic men and their story is not graven only on stone over their clay but abides everywhere without visible symbol woven into the stuff of other men’s lives

St Margaret’s Chapel – circa 1130

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

‘at the end of the day …’



The songs of small birds fade away
into the bushes after sundown,
the air dry, sweet with goldenrod.
Beside the path, suddenly, bright asters
flare in the dusk. The aged voices
of a few crickets thread the silence.
It is a quiet I love, though my life
too often drives me through it deaf.
Busy with costs and losses, I waste
the time I have to be here—a time
blessed beyond my deserts, as I know,
if only I would keep aware. The leaves
rest in the air, perfectly still.
I would like them to rest in my mind
as still, as simply spaced. As I approach,
the sorrel filly looks up from her grazing,
poised there, light on the slope
as a young apple tree. A week ago
I took her away to sell, and failed
to get my price, and brought her home
again. Now in the quiet I stand
and look at her a long time, glad
to have recovered what is lost
in the exchange of something for money.

Wendell Berry
The Sorrel Filly, Collected Poems: 1957-1982

What is to be done after a reading of Wendell Berry? A walk outdoors as soon as possible. And if the poem has been feasted upon in early evening then a sunset walk will probably be necessary – with a camera close to expectant hearts.

And so it was … and tonight we did ‘stand / … glad to have recovered what is lost.’ And though these images are written well enough upon the aforementioned hearts, still the photographs, the written record, will remind us, over time, to stand … glad, again and again and again. Awed.


The western sky

Photo at Pixabay

Matthew Brycea rescued surfer told his family he had ‘made himself at peace’ with not surviving after 32 hours adrift at sea, but – thankfully – of the crew of a Search & Rescue Helicopter, ‘these guys were the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.  I owe them my life.’ – BBC News

I’m filled with gratitude for rescuers and the rescued as Matthew tells of how he’d at first thought the crew had missed him, but hadn’t. And I am deeply moved by his account of watching the sunset over the sea, ‘because I was sure I would never see it again.’

Thank you, Matthew. Thank you for reminding me to be extra glad I’m alive and safe tonight. I am so glad you are – and something in me reaches out, as I’m sure it does from you, and from your loving family, towards any and all who feel – or know – they’re watching the western sky for the last time. Thank you for reminding me of the heroism of the world’s willing rescuers and medical teams, the courage of countless people who find themselves in extremis, and of what it means for humankind to be able to watch sunset. And sunrise. Keep well, Matthew.