In sight of Nature

At the markets where we sell our Pictures and Poems products we are often asked why we chose to live in this place so far removed ... etc. Amongst other reasons to do with people (or their scarcity), and the way here that you only have to lift your eyes to lift your mind, since coming to live in Wester-Ross we've seen many, many to us wondrous natural things; none of which may shake the world but all of which we shall remember...

High on the hill we've often sat upon a certain rock around which flows a little burn and when we've tossed in a crumb of my sandwich and watched it float downstream have seen the rise and swirl of speckled fingerlings, wondering at what we've read about the amazing lives of these Atlantic salmon.

We have seen a golden eagle gliding low, majestic, over a field of ewes and lambs and have on the same day seen his ponderous white tailed cousin searching the rocky shore.

We have seen a family of otters play, dip-diving beneath the waves, one of them surfacing with a strange disfigurement of a head - strange until we realised he had fast hold of an octopus - that had fast hold on his face.

We have seen a pinkfoot goose leading her fourteen one day old pingpong balls of fluff out of the field of their hatch and across a rocky beach and into the sea, the gander bringing up the rear. And day by day have seen the goslings grow and grow then fly short hops, then fly away. We know that their parents had left on the long migration a month before. So how did the young ones know where Greenland was, mister science?

We have seen a pure white grey seal pup seemingly stranded on a sandy beach, have watched it flip flop down a shallow channel to meet and greet its mother sea.

We have seen small chaffinches, not long from the nest and still with L plates, landing in a high wind on our birdseed scattered apology for a lawn only to go bowling head over tail across the grass. Funny for us but not for them or for their parents.

On that same grassy feeding ground we've see a lady sparrowhawk alight, having missed her intended prey, her intended prey being now deep inside a honeysuckle tangle; and have watched the hawk fight her way inside to emerge triumphant, prey tight held in the claw of no escape.

We have seen magnificently antlered red deer males at the time of the rut, fighting to prove their right to mate with only half interested hinds.

We have seen dolphins swim, rise and fall, two by two, close inshore like a platoon of soldiers on the march. Not hunting or feeding. Just going - where?

We have seen first swallows get here from darkest Africa, have watched them swoop and dart and dive and climb about the sky in search of insects that we cannot see to feed themselves and their young, then as days shorten fly with their young ones south. What's a few thousand miles to an eighty gram bundle of feathers, after all?

All these things and many more that serve to open up the door, a little bit, anyway.

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