Into the darkness

September, and

the nights are drawing in.

Long summer evenings seem

a distant memory.

In the house,

once the lights go on

the world outside seems

so dark,

so uninviting.

But it’s still there,

still waiting.

Tonight, I venture out,

stumbling until my eyes

grow accustomed to

shades of darkness.

A glow in the west

from the sun, long set,

faintly illuminating

a pale mackeral sky.

Clouds like ripples in sand,

and behind them

faint twinkling stars

guiding me to the north

and the beauty of the night

Mull of Galloway

Savouring the end of summer

among the last blooms of

thrift and sea campion,

the cries of unseen kittiwakes,

clouds of swallows and martins

and the arrow-straight splashing dives of gannets.

Mull of Galloway lighthouse

It’s that time of year when every bit of warm sunshine is savoured. The air is cooler now, the wind is blowing from the north, but out of the wind the sun is still hot. We sat in the sun on the Mull of Galloway, sharing the end of summer with the birds. Soon they will be leaving, the kittiwakes out to sea, the swallows, house martins and gannets heading south for warmer climes. A day to remember, sunshine,warmth and memories to light us through the winter darkness ahead.

Mull of Galloway
Colourful cliffs at the Mull of Galloway

Twilight practice

I used to worry.

What will the neighbours think

if I do tai chi in the garden?

This summer I tried it.

What a gift,

being present outdoors

at the end of the day.

Robins, blackbirds,

the wind in the trees,

flowers, bats, hedgehogs, owls,

the moon, clouds, rain,

the setting sun,

a scattering of stars,

mars, even saturn

have been part of my practice this summer.

Who cares what the neighbours think!

Heatwave

11pm in the garden,

the air like velvet on my bare arms,

unexpectedly warm.

A soft breeze caresses the leaves.

Two owls squabble

under an orange moon

as I savour the silky night.

Nights like this belong to other places.

Reluctantly I return indoors.

The owls sing me to sleep.

Forest Bathing

At a conference,

head bursting with ideas.

Talks about nature and wellbeing,

beauty, emotions,

the benefit of mindful ‘forest bathing’,

the importance of nature connections.

Invigorating subjects

dried up by windowless rooms,

air conditioning,

artificial lighting

and too many strangers.

Break time and I escape

into a bookshop.

Funny how I always end up in one of these

when the urban world becomes too much.

My shoulders drop as I cross the threshold,

calm among wood

pulped and pressed into pages,

the ghosts of trees.

A forest of paper and words,

and silence.

I feel at home

I don’t read them, just soak in the cathedral-like atmosphere

and refrain from buying another expensive notebook.

I feel the benefit of a kind of forest bathing,

a tenuous connection to nature

until I can get back to the real thing.