Warm and dry on the top deck of a Lothian double decker is a good place to be on a wet and windy Edinburgh day.
The run down to Ocean Terminal is not at its largely Georgian prettiest right now, choked with roadworks as the city’s tram line is being extended all the way down – decidedly to the chagrin of hard-pressed retailers and those who have to drive the route often. Bus drivers ought to be awarded medals when the extension is finally opened.
Up on the North East coast, Edinburgh is not always sunny and mild, of course, and at times the wind here blows through you rather than around. But even on a rainy day, bus windows streaming, there’s a distinctive, different, beautiful something special about this city …
What an enormous privilege it was to be invited to capture some images of a vibrant and wonderfully ‘alive’ book launch for Julie Carter’s RunningThe Red Line on 21 April at The Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick. There’s nothing quite so wonderful as a room full of inspiring and inspired, encouraged and encouraging, charismatic and articulate friends – gathering to celebrate something profoundly rich – and thereby ‘write in light’, creating living poetry in the electrified air.
Broadband users, please click on the image above for a photobook (pdf) which will download in around 30 seconds. Best viewed full screen.
Wow, it’s blowing a gale here today. From time to time the roof of this old house creaks and invisible power lifts heavy slate and rafter as though the whole place were yawning and stretching – awakening perhaps, in imagination at least, to the brightness and promise of Spring. Birdsong rises above the sound of the wind – in fact everything, everywhere seems to be singing.
For actually the sky is bright and blue and clear – though “more grey”, says the Met Office, “for later”. Our first two brave daffodils are laughing in the current we can’t see – so imagination isn’t necessary, but flourishing anyway, so that one is almost certainly hearing these yellow harbingers calling out to the others, still furled and cautious, to hurry up and join the festival!
Walking out from the gym into morning sunlight earlier we noticed that grey had been swapped for blue and gold by an efficiently unseen mover and shaker. Yesterday the shoppers grumbled. Today they strode purposefully – with a gleam in the eye that suggested “blow the diet. Let’s have sticky toffee pudding” – throwing aforementioned caution, as they say, to the wind. Ha!
A flock of Canada Geese didn’t appear in the least-bit put out about being thrown off course. Collared doves and rooks are perhaps a little more anxious as they find it difficult enough already trying to get a grip on the sparrows’ suet feeder. My fastidiously brushed hair is roughly tousled by an out of sight tease. The affrontery of this gale! – but it absolutely makes me smile, despite myself.
Dank air around everything’s having been continuously flooded, soaked or frozen for weeks on end is blown elsewhere, somewhere, and the cosmic dryer disperses surface puddles and temporary field-lakeland. Forest deadwood falls to the floor, continuing its designed cycle of being and becoming, making way for new shoots, twigs, leaves and branches. Other-plane-power from beyond.
If life were a single soul Who set about penning an autobiography, I imagine there must be a chapter about life once lived in the sea shells that, having fallen one on top of another, have now become the grains of fine white sand, endlessly shifting between this morning’s glorious sunrise and this evening’s tranquil sunset. And another chapter about life lived in the wind that filled the white sails of a white yacht gliding slowly and exquisitely across a deep blue horizon, steered by a white haired skipper. Life lived in innumerable places. Autobiographical eternity, contemplatively.
Twenty years ago I read Josie Dew’s The Wind In My Wheels – one woman’s account of her life-enhancing adventures travelling around the world on a bike. The book’s title, and much else besides, has remained with me, a regular, albeit not quite so energetic, cyclist.
Bowling along a cyclepath with the music of the wind in my wheels affords precious thinking time – and strikes me as an apt metaphor for my own experience of life. Open road and obstacle. Starting and stopping. Speeding and slowing. Sights and sounds. Smiles and sadness. Surefootedness and silliness. Sunshine and showers.
I’m not aiming to write a book here – only to blog a bit about life and love, about vivifying poetry and prose, and about what it might mean for me, perhaps for any of us – to have wind in my wheels.