Winter to Summer Solstice

Day 1

An inversion of fog has sunk below the mountains tops and settled on our tiny village. All around us the world has alerted into an underdeveloped sepia photograph with blurred edges and featureless faces.

The old mill, Killin

With such an abundance of thick fog, the village has felt cold and eerily dark. Its no surprise then that the the arrival of winter solstice yesterday was heartily welcomed.

An alter to welcome the return of the light

My wife and I did our first solstice ritual which, amongst other things, involved the lighting of candles and thinking of what the coming light means to us.

New life

The first warmth of the sun on my skin

The transformation of nature

Clean washing hung on the washing line

The sound of birds in the trees

New growth in the garden

Taken in Arbroath Scotland.

I am going to start recording my journey from winter to summer solstice, starting today, with the hopes of becoming more aware of the changing light. I feel this gives me an opportunity to take a moment at sunset to gather my thoughts, be still, and record what I see. A mindful moment.

Day 1 Sunset 15.41 UK

I was in B&M, so certainly not a mindful moment, but an awareness of the time lingered in the periphery of my mind. We came in for wool, because Helen wanted to start a new crochet project, and I needed dry stuffing mix for the Christmas dinner. Helen wheeled off in her wheelchair while I headed to the vegan section to see what bargains I could pick up. Five minutes later, and with a basket half filled with groceries that I didn’t need, Helen wheeled up behind me with a bewildered look on her face.

‘They’ve started selling Cherry Ripe, it’s my absolute favourite chocolate bar. I audibly gasped when I saw it. But it isn’t vegan.’

There was a look of disappointment on her face, but a glint of a memory pulled her lips into a soft smile and she was temporality transported to Australia, to a different time, to a time before us, before Scottish mountains, cold inversions and wheelchairs, to a time that shaped my wife into the woman she is today. I never saw her taste her first Cherry Ripe bar, but maybe one day, perhaps on a cold winters afternoon, when a cloud inversion has transformed the world into a blurred photograph, we will share our first vegan Cherry Ripe bar together. Until then, I will sit for a moment, after this post is sent out into the world, and listen to her tell me of that first taste, and learn something new on the first day of the coming light.

South Street Arbroath

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Artist Laura Walker kindly allowed me to use this painting along side my poem. You can visit her site by clicking on the link if you want to see more of her work.

South Street Arbroath 

Every day is laundry day on South Street.

White cotton flat sheets, stone-washed jeans; yesterday’s pink and yellow striped knickers

Dip and duck like multi-coloured bunting.

 

Children climb up from the beach

Where the sand hems the grassy slope.  Plastic sandcastles filled with shells; razors

And limpets, purple mussels speckled with shingle, and a wee deid crab,

Protected inside a bleached Hula Hoop bag, Crumpled.

 

The children’s laughter rips through the flapping blankets as they zigzag,

dodging Mrs Campbell’s frilly knickers that joyride on the briny wind.

The postman waves.

He’s sinking useless junk mail through the rusty red letterboxes of

the fisherman’s cottages. Unashamed.

 

A peg pings and a denim leg  kicks the sky, snapping the wind as it buckles around a

red rope.

Heaven rests like burning oil on the ocean.

 

A wrinkled man with leather lugs sits outside number twenty-five,

His eyes a hazy mist of blue sea, and cataracts.

He picks up his thick wooden board, red with blood and guts,

A deid head of a deid haddock with deid

Eyes.  He wipes his knife clean on a Pizza Hut flyer.

©Eilidh G Clark

This poem was first published by Artist Moira Buchanan in her art exhibition ‘All Washed up’. You can follow Moira Buchanan on Facebook by clicking this link  or visit her website.

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