In case you missed it, it is now Spring…

rhododendron  flowers, snow, early spring … and it is perhaps just in time.

I know it has been a warm winter by most standards, but the darkness, the bare tree,; the sodden hillsides, the succession of storms – they do wear you down.

Spring is the time of yearI  love more than any other. More than the driest day of hot Summer, give me a Spring shower. Particularly one falling on the West Coast of Scotland. It is a time when my boots start to twitch to the promise of adventure. A time when things seem characterised by potential.

So my friends, may your windows be opened wide.

May your air be sweet with the song.

May you come to realise that after the heavy bloat of pregnancy, after the rending of birth, new life leaps into the fields, fresh of fur, eyes wide with wonder.

May you be drawn outside, where the world is.

The sofa will wait.

Singing of songs…

I have been playing with a melody that popped into my head- a burst of folk music that I walked home with the other day and hummed into a recorder so I would not forget it.

It somehow connected with Song of Songs;

Listen! My beloved!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

This is one of those passages that when we read it (and ignore all those lurid sexual images that Song of Songs is full of) we have been accustomed to sanctify and imbue with foresight, as clearly the writer must have been alluding to the coming of Jesus. It is in the Bible after all.

And this may well be true, or perhaps we can read it in a much more earthy way- the man and his lover, fully alive, turned on like a spring morning. Humanity at the centre of a Creation re created through sexual electro chemistry.

I wrote a tamer Scottish version, to my own love-

The winter rains are almost done

The birds now sweetly singing

The woods alive in every limb

Each leaf new life is bringing

The ancient hills are green again

The valleys now are bleating

The forest floor slumbers no more

Bluebells will soon be ringing

Arise my love, and come away, come away

Arise my love and come away


The days are long those shadows gone

Light here around is falling

The humming hive is now alive

Lark into sky is soaring

So rise up hope and dance anew

On this your bright new morning

Come fly away my love with me

Our summer days are calling

Arise my love, and come away, come away

Arise my love and come away


It is there in me again- that pull towards Spring.

This morning the mountains are suffocated in another heavy fall of snow, and it is cold. Cold.

It will not last- the rain is already starting to mottle it into the hillside, but it sits there at the moment like repressed hope- and as the proverb says, hope deferred makes the heart sick.

So, by way of antidote, here is a song from the soundtrack of one of my favourite films…

Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow
Gonna rise up
Burning black holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
Suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold
Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

Eddie Vedder- ‘Rise’ from the soundtrack of ‘Into the Wild’.

Making fire and longing for spring…

I am longing for spring.

It always happens to me around this time of the year. Not because winter isn’t beautiful, but rather because spring releases something in me. It is a physical thing, as well as a psychological/spiritual thing.

The days open up and lengthen with a soft green light.

New life is everywhere- every leaf, every lamb, every bracken shoot is a bursting with hope and potential.

And I can start to linger again in wild places- perhaps in my new camping hammock! A present from Michaela for Christmas. I am still not sure exactly how sleeping in a hammock under a tarpaulin will compare to a tent, but I am looking forward to finding out.

The other essential ingredient to such a trip is this one-

Here in Scotland, as opposed to England, sensible and sensitive use of small campfires is permissable- check out the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This is a controversial issue- as in high pressure beauty spots such as Loch Lomond, the mess made by weekend revellers is everywhere.

Trees ripped and damaged, charred paper and disposable barbecues strewn around- and always some idiots who think it is possible to burn bottles and cans in wood fire and as a result leave a welded mess on the otherwise pristine shore line.

It has long been a point of argument between my friends and I as to which one of us lights the best fire. I maintain that my ‘chimney’ technique, where combustible material is stacked above the source of heat in a collapsible, self feeding tower is the best way. But the reality is that none of us are really good at it.

I have never successfully used one of those spark making fire steels, let alone rubbed sticks together to make flame.

So to help us dream of long evenings under the spring stars- here is a bloke who knows what he is doing-