Heron

Snow whipped down the Tarmachan Ridge, and gathered in hoof prints in a field by the Lochay.

That’s where we met.

You, hunkered in a grey fur coat
Bedraggled and stiff
Gathering the cold
Like a sobering drunk at a bus stop Knowing the last bus has gone,

And me, cowering from the wind,
Dressed for Siberia,
With hot-breath-blow-back flowing Like the Dochart beneath my mask.

I might have passed you by
Had it not been for the sun’s flame
Painted on the dead bracken
Catching my eye.

But I stopped, and a moment passed, You fluffed your feather boa, And I straightened my mask.

Refugee

Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com

Dawn breaks,

With a fire whipped ocean

And the boatmen’s song.

Voices in waves

Sail the morning winds.

Tumbling from salt spray lips

Rhythm and hymns,

Caught on wings of a guillemot.

In a theatre of fog

Music takes flight,

Rising, like a streak of mist

To face heaven’s door.

And boatmen weep.

Sing goodbye, to the waves,

Lost upon the sorry sea,

As day dies still,

And the boatmen sleep,

And the boatmen sleep.

And we sleep.

©EilidhGClark

Adding colour to an otherwise drab day

It has been another dreich and drab day here in Killin, Scotland and, a cold one too. It’s a lack of colour day, a blanket day, a cannae find the motivation to even write day. So what do you do when the washed out world is painting your soul grey? You paint it back to life. This is how I filled my evening. How about you?

The Last Line

Today was a never day,

A failure to arrive day,

A day lost like edges of the earth

In a mucky kind of fog day.

Today was a nothing day.

A ‘didn’t even walk the dogs day,’

A day lost like carrots in a stew

In an empty kind of dish day.

Today was a forever day

An ‘is it time to go back to bed day?’

A day lost like the end of this rhyme.

Camping

This is me, my partner Helen and our youngest dog Kimber.

I love this photograph so much, it says a lot about our little family. The photograph was camptured by Helen’s mum while we were camping at Comrie Croft in Perthshire. You can see that is was a happy day, a fun day. I think we were relieved, it rained loads while we were there, but on this day, there was a break from the grey, the cold and the dampness, and it lifted our spirits.

PROMPT

Write a story or poem about a group of people camping, but write it in two parts.

The first should be set inside the tent. The weather is cold, wet and grey. Everyone is a bit damp and miserable. What does the atmosphere feel like? Is there conversation? What can you see, smell, taste, feel?

Now write the second part. The weather has changed, the clouds have shifted and the sun is high in the sky. The tent is suddenly warmer, there are voices outside as people unzip their tents and venture out into the bright open field. How does the mood change inside, and then outside of the tent. What happens? How does it feel? What can you see, smell, taste, feel?

Happy camping folks

Social Media Down Time

pexels-photo-607812.jpeg

I have been toying with the idea of a social media down day ever since a tutor at university spoke of his own positive experience. Sunday past seemed like the perfect day to give it a go, not only because I already associate Sunday as a kind of  down day, but also because I have  just completed my first week studying  mindfulness. I began the online mindfulness course because I often struggle with anxiety. Anxiety, for those who have experienced it, can be debilitating; exhausting on the mind and the body. For myself, I experience social anxiety, dread and an inability to rest;  my thoughts go into overdrive and I feel them crashing together. My usual “go to” is social media where I can loose myself amongst everyone else’s lives – in other words I detach myself from myself. I knew something had to change; there had to be another way of dealing with my anxiety. Then right on time, along came an e-mail telling me about a  free course with Future Learn –  Mindfulness.  

Mindfulness (and remember I am still learning) is learning how to be present in our experiences, an, in our lives.  Even on my non anxious days I am constantly distracted by social media, not because it is a riveting alternative to real life, but because it is a filler. For me, Facebook more so than any other social media platform,  fills the time between breakfast and walking the dogs or when the dinner is cooking, or basically whenever I have a spare moment. E-mail is another source of distraction, as a writer, I find myself falling into the trap of checking my e-mail whenever I have a spare minute; I send between five and fifteen pieces of writing to magazines and competitions every quarter so am always waiting on reply. So, when I sat down and really thought about it, it seemed that I had forgotten how to just sit and do nothing. Thus, the idea to go ahead with the social media down day was decided.

Sunday 11th February

It is amazing how your hand automatically reaches for your phone in the morning. I decided to turn my internet off so that I wouldn’t receive any notifications tempting me to pick it up. Once that was done, I put my phone on my writing bureau (it usually sits on the arm of the sofa) and got on with my day. I found myself enjoying really quite mundane things such as putting the clean washing away – not only did I tidy my wardrobe; I re-arranged it. Then I decided on a few items that were ready for the charity shop. It was nice to take time to look at my clothes properly, to see the nice items that I have purchased over the winter (mostly from charity shops or from sales), and appreciate what I have..

Lunchtime was interesting; I found myself looking at my lunch rather that looking at my phone while eating lunch – it is amazing how much better food tastes when you look at it and pay attention to what you are eating.

By mid afternoon I had forgotten about my phone and about E-mails and Facebook and all of the other internet distractions that usually filled my time and I sat and looked out the window. We have recently moved into a new house and the living-room window faces onto a private garden with lots of trees and sky and birds. The sun was shining and the sky was clear and blue and I just sat,  and looked.  It reminded me of my teenage self, eighteen years old, no internet,  and looking out the bedroom window of our family home. There was fields and hills, trees – and a castle nestled behind some Scots pine’s. I was taken to a place where I felt like my old self again, (although I am sure if you asked my eighteen year old self how I felt, I would have declared my utter boredom) but at forty-five, letting myself be still, just looking and experiencing how that felt, I’ve never felt less bored in my life.

tree-field-horizon-countryside-81413.jpeg

My phone vibrated mid afternoon and I got my other half to take a look. Somehow, without any internet, a notification had got through. I ignored it although I am still baffled by how that could happened.

All in all, my day trotted along at a much slower pace. I had the odd moment when I wondered about what was happening in the land of Facebook or if some magazine had sent me an e-mail, but apart from the weird sensation of not picking my phone up every twenty minutes, it was a pleasant experience. Now I know that it isn’t for everyone, and I am certainly not trying to encourage anyone to follow my example, but for me – someone who grew up in the days before internet – it was like opening my eyes after a long daydream. I do enjoy social media and I would be lost today without the wonder of internet, but I will continue to have my Sunday down days, where I can see the week through wider eyes.

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I Can See the Wind

I can see the wind.

You can see the airborne leaves, scooped

up from the ground,

You can see the waving branches

on tired trees

but I see the wind.

Not the inside out umbrellas

or the skirts around red faced ladies,

or even the cigarette packet

zipping through the air.

I can see it.

It’s not invisible!

Its long and its night coloured

and shaped like a snake and

it slithers and swishes through my hair

playing invisible.

I can see the wind.

I see it laughing

when it reaches in our chest

and sucks our breath

then whips our words into a whisper.

I’m not fooled

by its malice

when it asks the rain

to join in.

I can see the wind

and it’s ugly.

©Eilidh G Clark