Saturday, 13 December 2008

A Christmas Greeting

Another couple of my Dad's photographs from Antarctica. The pup on the right was called Dot. Being a long-haired husky, she was destined to be shot because the ice would accumulate on her fur and eventually rip the skin. She couldn't become a sled dog, but was kept as a pet instead.

Spindrift blows across camp

Have a Happy Christmas, wherever you are.

Eastern Light

A Return to Lindisfarne

With a metronome regularity we clock the years together with visits to Lindisfarne, the Holy Isle. At this time of year, it's always cold, bleak and silent. There are few people walking the tiny hamlet of streets, and the vicar's winter-weight cassock blows wildly as he walks his sermon across the road from home to church. How he gets by in sandals at this time of year I just don't know.

Despite the austere weather conditions, there is a singular beauty to the place which is lost to the thousands of summer visitors. And it's all about light. The light here is soft and radiant. And after all, it's probably what brought the Saints here in the first place.

Casting a glazed eye over the stacks of religious books in the tiny village shop only confirms this impression: "Chasing the Light", "Into the Light", "Lindisfarne Light". Through layer upon layer of religious tradition and transformation, the one thing that pokes through is still the primaeval beauty of this natural wonder.

The wonderful upturned boat sheds of Lindisfarne

And while all around us is change, the pace of it is slowed here. We caught sight of the 10 foot long tree trunk that we found washing up on the shore last year. It has been dismembered by the storms and lies in battered pieces at the high tide mark. This is change on a natural scale, perhaps put into perspective by the sudden disappearance of Fenwick Lawson's sculpture in the church. The extraordinary gravity of this sculpture has been replaced with little more than a scuff of wood against the slate floor. He has gone to be exhibited elsewhere.

It's great to have a place we call, in a very quiet way, our own. A kind of natural migration in the sometimes chaotic schedule of life. And why? Well, it's probably something to do with the light.

Sunset on the Causeway

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Alright this, in't it?

The battering of snow stayed long enough for me to snatch a snowy run along the Helvellyn ridge last weekend. It's often a place I end up going for a bit of a run on my own, which often ends up in deep and meaningful thoughts about running in the mountains. You'll be pleased to hear that I've forgotten all of them, but running up there is a gift.

A solitary fell runner scooted by on soft white sherbet snow.

"Alright this, in't it?"

"Aye, it's not bad..." I replied.