Good morning, world.

In localese White Nights occur during the midsummer months up here when it doesn't really get dark at all. We woke early, looked out at over a sunstruck, mirror glaze loch, decided to take an early walk. By five o clock we were down on the beach. It was a very low tide so we were able to pick our way over and around boulders, stones and sand to a favourite vantage point. This rocky, grassy headland reaches out into Loch Ewe. It's a bit of an up and down scramble but finally we were able to reach its outermost rock - the place where, yesterday, Dee had sat watching an otter on the hunt.

No otter this morning. Wrong stage of the tide, perhaps. But as we drank our coffee, so much edge of the sea birdlife. No sounds other than the repeated call of a solitary cuckoo, wild geese occasionally talking to or arguing with each other, various kinds of gulls flying around their nesting colonies a kilometre away, over on the Island, and the terns, oh yes, the terns . There's a breeding ground for these so called sea swallows just along on top of an old, long disused wartime pier. But what kind of terns? Arctic terms, Common terns, Little terns or Sandwich terns - or even the very rare Roseate tern? All very similar one to the other. I looked them up when we got home and still don't know (although there were definitely two distinctly different species whizzing around us, stopping in mid-flight to twist and turn butterfly-like before dropping into the water after a small fish and straight away re-airborne.

I read about how the Arctic tern, weighing in at a massive 400 grams or so, will nest anywhere from here in northern Scotland right up into the Arctic, then fly up to 10,000 miles south to winter in the Antarctic Seas. Some bird!

Colour! You could use all the tints in your pastels box and still not register more than a fraction of that at which you are looking this bright morning. Ordinary low tide 'sea weed'? Make that plural, many times. Use up all your reds, greens, browns on these sea plants. Then find a different group of greens and browns for the tangle over there on the island. Try to paint the march of hills as they recede into the distance with ever fainter teal blues, faintest purple tones. And then the sky! Washed out cobalt blue above fading into cream with the lightest touch of yellow over the horizon. And then finally the sea, the sea. Just a mirror, as I said, reflecting land and sky but always a shade or two darker. As befits its enduring mystery.

Good morning, world.

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