Earth Cycles

Here in the hills where the wild sheep grow, tended by rain soaked winds and sun kissed clouds, the grass grows impossibly green. It rolls in velvet folds across the low green lands, giving way to a thick plaid of golden frosted heather and bracken, as the earth rises to meet winters crumbling mountain stones. There is a line which runs all across the high slopes, above which the bare rock heads of the mountains peep through the soft coloured blanket of soil and plants. The bald grey and black of gabbro and basalt, running in frost shattered rivers of scree, towards the soft fertile pastures of the glens far below. On the highest peaks, soft wool clouds dust the cold stone mountain tops with icing sugar snow daily. The clouds drift through on the wings of wind which may have begun thousands of miles south among emerald Caribbean isles. We can only wonder what tales are whispered by the snow filled wind into the stone ears of the mountain peaks, and what the mountains say back to the passing breeze. What we do know for certain is that the wind brings the rain and the snow clouds, which water the thirsty grass, which feeds the hungry sheep, which grows the warm soft wool, which is knitted into gloves and jumpers to keep our soft bodies warm… the biting cold wind…….which brings the rain and clouds. 

The photos are taken in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye, Scotland in response to this weeks WP challenge ‘landscape’.

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Glen Brittle Fairy Pool Magic

Deep in the heart of Glen Brittle, a crystal clear stream pours down from the Black Coullin, tumbling through pools of turquoise blue and pastel pink. The Allt Coir a Mhadaidh, Stream of the Foxes Hollow, has carved a stunning series of waterfall linked pools. The water is snowmelt for most of the year, and even in the height of summer it is ice cold despite its tropical colours. These are the now famous Fairy Pools, and if you look closely you might make out the speckled stone faces within and around the tumbling water.

All around the Glen stone faces watch unblinking from the earth. Speckled or dappled is considered touched by or owned by the sidhe, the fairy folk of Scotland, and this place holds a lot of speckles. The speckled folk was another name for these magical otherworld beings, and the pools of Glen Brittle, or Bhreatal in Gaelic, are just one of their haunts on the magical Isle of Skye. Their lichen dappled faces peep out from all around the rocks themselves, and they can shift shape into speckled trout or salmon, and swim as far up or down stream as they please.

These pools with their stone-faced guardians, were seen as places where gifts and divination could pass through from the magical otherworld, and into this world. Places where wild forces could snatch away life, or grant healing, and where wisdom could be sought. The speckled trout and salmon who inhabit the waters were holders of this wisdom, and could travel the waters between the worlds.

These waterfalls are on a truly large scale, despite being dwarfed by the towering mountains behind them. There is something utterly transformative about standing at the edge of tumbling water, feeling the spray damp on your skin, hearing your ears fill with the voice of the falls and your eyes held transfixed by the eternal motion. Nothing can remain static here, even the solid rocks of the riverbed are giving way and transforming in the unending flow from mountain top to ocean. It’s a place to let go and just be, and see what comes to you.

If you do chose to join the growing band of wild swimmers who come to the pools, swim with respect in the pools of the speckled folk. They were here long before we set foot on the earth, and will continue to flow once we have all passed through this life. Beneath these huge mountains, let yourself feel small and powerless, as you move through this landscape of elemental Giants. There is no need to change or fix or do anything here, just feel your breath in your warm soft body.

We dipped no more than our feet and hands on this occasion, and as we walked back, fresh snow was dusting the mountain tops. Cold doesn’t even begin to describe the water, but it left a sparkle.

You can see some other Fairy Pools here in a previous post.

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Coullin Candyfloss

Coullin Candyfloss 

Spun in soft sugary tufts

Across cold black teeth

Day 3 of the 7 day nature photo challenge which Amy invited me to join.

Click here for day 1, The Dawn

Day 2, Mountainous Half-Light.

Today I’m inviting a lovely blogger from Sweden who visited me in Edinbugh. She takes beautiful natural shots and shares my love of the natural world, trees, mountains and hairy dogs. Pop across and look at Tina’s lovely work for yourself.

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Mountainous Half-Light

In the half-light between mist and sun, within the deep folds of the winter Coullin, a sparkling bridge of light spans the Choire Laggan. Some say the rainbow bridge Bifrost leads all the way to Asguard, home of the gods. It’s guardian Heimdallr has nine mothers and teeth of glittering gold, so perhaps think twice before stepping onto this bridge. Others swear that sparkling pots of fairy gold lie at its foot, but we know for sure that this bridge of light leads the way to the Hollow Corrie and its turquoise blue waters. Today however, with winters snow still clinging to the Coullin peaks, is not the day for this adventure. As we watch, tangled drifts of mist and cloud brush across the jagged rocks, softening them.  

Further up Glen Brittle, the clouds and mist won the day against the sun, and swept in around the curved bowl of Coire ne Creiche. Sitting with a soft cloud blanket around his shoulders, Sgurr an Fheadain, sits proudly guarding the Glen of the famous Fairy Pools of Skye. 

His name means Rock Pipe, or Water Pipe Peak, and you can clearly see the line of the pipe splitting the pyramidal peak in two. Today was not the day to swim in these magical waters, but the swiftly ever changing drama of cloud and sun around the Coullin peaks wove its own spell. The conditions up here can turn in moments, as the jagged peaks weave their own weather from the passing clouds and wind. Just half an hour latter the rain clouds moved off, and left us with this parting shot. 

 The mixed half-light of cloud and sun can offer some magical landscapes, and if variety is indeed the spice of life, then this mixed light offers our senses something very tasty indeed. This landscape is never the same twice, which is a wonderful aid for staying in the moment and living in our senses, rather than caught in our thoughts. Each moment here offers something fresh and rather magical, and their are fairy hills and pools woven with myths and gods around almost every corner, if you know how to look! The sharp eyed among you might spot Molly strolling into shot in the right hand corner!
This post is in the theme of half-light to tie in with this weeks WP photo challenge.

Also this is day 2 of my 7 day nature photo challenge. 

I’m inviting Laura over at eljadee to join in today. She takes wonderful arty wildlife shots often from within London city. She is also very creative with her photo blending and editing. Pop over and take a look at her site. 

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The Dawn

The day shows herself

Letting in light by layers

Shade flees to the folds.

Taken as the sun rose over the Plockton Crags on Good Friday morning. 

Find more dusk and dawn images at WP weekly challenge ‘half light‘.

This is also Day 1 of a 7 Day nature photo challenge which Amy nominated me for!

Today I’m inviting Sarah to join in. She takes incredibly beautiful and intimate photos of butterflies, birds and flowers. I love her eye for detail.

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Dance of Light

The air all around us is filled with dancing patterns of energy, drunk in greedily by our bodily senses, searching for clues about the world. Each one of our senses is tuned to receive different waves of energy from the air. The sound of a summer breeze brushing through golden dry grass. The taste of salty ocean air on our lips. The soft caress of the movement of the wind across our skins and the sweet scent of flower perfumed clouds. Sight however is the most powerful sense for photographers and artists, and sight relies on light waves dancing and sparkling through the air, and being absorbed by our eyes. The energy of the light is absorbed and reflected by all of the surfaces in the world around us, and this gives us the impression of not only light and shadow but of colour too. We weave the world from the patterns of the light energy being exchanged and difussed around us, and some of these patterns are wildly beautiful. They can uplift us and leave a smile across our lips and sparkle in our eye.

Other dances of light in air can change our mood to something more intimate or evocative. The power of the dance between light and shadow, can be very emotive, echoing times or places we have stood before. There are unconscious clues about the time of year and the hour of the day, whispered from the shadow pools, which can pull in memories and feelings. To capture this dance, is to catch the edges of the magic of memory and emotion. 

 The dance of light through petals and leaves is the dance of our planets life breath. The light glowing and reflecting off petals, paints a mesmerising, dazzling landing zone for flying insects, guiding them down into the flowers soft reproductive organs. Light is the instigator of this very intimate sexual dance between flowers and insects, as they brush closely with each other spreading their pollen love freely. While the light glowing through and absorbed into leaves, is the exchange of breath which keeps us alive. To see and capture the dance of light among flowers and trees, is to witness the secret heart of our living breathing planet, upon whom we all rely.
 The dance of light in air, is a magical ever shifting feast for our eyes and our souls. Let your soul be swept away with wild abandon into the pools of light and shadow and the bold splashes of colour. Get lost among the enchantments and sparkle of light filled air, and if you’re really lucky capture a heart moving photograph to share with the rest of us. Life is all about the light, and the light is all about feeling.
This is the part 2 of my response to this weeks WP photo challenge, dance.

Find part 1, the Dance of Life, here.

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Dance of Life

All around and within us each day, the dance of life continues in its eternal movement and exchange. Life itself is movement and exchange, and from the smallest atoms within our cells, to the burning fires of the sun out there in the cold blue space of the universe, there is a constant waltz. To dance is to exchange energy from one state or emotion to another, through the dancing body. The dance of fire, realeases beautiful flame maned horses, from the cold dead wood of last years trees. Energy from the heart of the sun, captured and held within the tree, until it is released again as heat and light and wild dancing flames of light. To watch a fire, is to watch the dance of energy from sun to earth to sky again. Beauty and wild passion expressed in the flickering dipping flames.

To watch the earth greening each spring, as the fresh grass and flowers push up through the dark soil into the light, is to watch the dance of earth. Seeds sleeping dormant through the dark months of winter, release their stored energy into a wild burst of colour and form, flowing in a cyclic dance, which repeats it’s pattern year after year. The earth dances her energy into wild riots of green, splashed with the rainbows colours, before withdrawing to catch her breath beneath the soil. The earths dance is balanced in its wildness, with growth and decay each claiming their steps and shapes. 

 To watch the light filled air, ripple through the soft leaf cloaks of trees, is to watch one of the most powerful dances of air. The energy of the light, gathered softly and silently into the heart of the tree, is powering growth, and the release of oxygen. This quiet, unassuming dance holds the power of life and death for us and all the warm soft animals of the earth. This dance fills the air all around us with the energy and power which the very cells of our bodies need to consume to stay alive. Next time you watch a pool of light or shadow drift across your path, remember the dance you are witnessing. 

 The beautiful surging dance of the oceans waves, can sweep clean a shoreline, and carry in fresh nutrients and materials. Wave dances are a complex mix of erosion, corrosion and deposition. They can eat away or build up a beach, and reshape the coastal edge of our land. They can travel hundreds of miles across open oceans, carrying the transformed energy of the wind, the tides and movements between tectonic plates. The moons position relative to earth, has a powerful effect on the sea and her waves, and so when we watch the swash and backwash of waves on the shore, we are witnessing the dance and movement of energy from deep within the earth and from deep within the universe. Some of these seemingly simple dances of life which we can witness all around us each day, are in fact the visible signs of the workings of the fabric of our universe. Worth pausing to watch for a little while, the energies might even effect our bodies and our moods as we sit within them noticing. Perhaps we can release some of own stuck energies into the flow and exchange of these elemental dances.

Find more dances at WP weekly photo challenge.

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