It’s dawn at the cottage, in the Highlands of Scotland it gently glides into morning, light slowly emerging – much as everything here it works on its own timetable – Scottish time, Highland time and finally Island time, the slowest of them all.
Last night the sun finally went down at 10pm after a three hour dusk where the sky gradually darkened casting tones of inky blue across loch, hill and tree. I love both ends of the day here – it is so unlike our home in Sussex where the day seems to begin quickly, urgently and closes after a brief but beautiful flurry of colour.
I’m looking out over Loch Sunart, a sea loch of freezing, dark water about 20 paces from where I’m sitting. In front of me I can see 18 deer nibbling on the grass at the foreshore and there’s a pair of pipistrelle bats flying in crazy looping circles right outside the huge picture windows. I suspect it’s the same bats who were flying round the bedroom a couple of nights ago.
Gradually, gently the sky shifts from grey blue to red over the course of more than an hour, it changes the colour and texture of the loch to a benevolent pinky blue. It is simply beautiful. This is a wild place. The tide is out revealing the slippery amber seaweed and the little island replete with mussels ripe for the picking later today. Soon the Herons will appear and then the multitude of other birds who have rich pickings on the shoreline.
This cottage is made of huge tree trunks pinned together, the doorways cut by chainsaw, it sits quietly in this landscape of green and grey. Trips here reveal visitors who have found ways round the small gaps in the logs – mice scurry round the edges of the rooms, I catch a glimpse of them from the corner of my eye. Spiders large but friendly and the bats who delight in the high rafters. At dawn after they have finished their night’s hunting I hear them scratching their way in between the logs for a good day’s sleep. Then, before silence falls they engage in curious buzzing chatter as they settle down to rest.
I love also the wild weather, the unpredictability of the day. The change of tide affecting every aspect of this micro climate – sun rapidly turning to rain, scudding clouds suddenly parting allowing shards of sunlight to fall on the water making it glisten like gem stones. It is never dull.
This is real abundance. So far from the monoculture of Lavender farms producing tons of flower heads from endless fields or the wheat fields sprayed with chemicals to keep every insect at bay. Instead this is the abundance of a landscape in harmony, of biodiversity and balance, of dolphins, seals, otters, pine martens and eagles – it is a special place – somewhere to retreat and regroup. A landscape to marvel over. It is awesome in the truest sense of the word.