Tuesday was such a beautiful day. After what has seemed like months of rain and wind, we awoke to a bright blue morning, birdsong, and a just detectable hint of softness in the air. After seeing the rest of the household off to their respective destinations,and rushing through the essential chores, I was left with the delicious prospect of a morning on my own. A perfect time for a leisurely ramble around the neighbourhood, to see what's doing - let's go.
Stopping at the gate, I noticed a wee clump of daffodils peeking out from the bank. I planted quite a few of my spare bulbs here, last Autumn, so it is good to see them showing - a promise of Spring indeed.
I turn South and head up the road toward the standing stones.
At the top of the hill, I have a choice - should I walk through the Stone Circle, and down the path towards the visitor's centre, or go down the steep hill to the shore? Ho-hum - if I go down past the centre just now, I might be tempted to go in for a coffee, and then I could miss the best of the day. Later, I think.
So, I head down the twisting slope towards the shore road.. I love this view of the sea-loch and the old house on the peninsula.
Spring is a lot more advanced in the sheltered hillside gardens here, and this splash of purple is a cheering sight as I walk down in the warm sunshine.
Down on the flat, I wander along the road to the pier. The sun reflecting on the still blue water of the loch is so beautiful, that I feel as if I could gaze at it forever. Was it Thoreau who described a lake as the Earth's eye? I can well imagine. I pass boats pulled high on the shoreline, still happed up against the Winter weather, and a pile of lobster pots spill over onto the seaweed.
On the other side of the road, a neighbour's piglets are rooting around, enjoying some sun on their backs, while their mother dozes at the entrance to the sty in the other corner of the field. I am struck by the mosaic pattern of the lichens and mosses growing on a rock, while patches of smashed shells are strewn here and there along the path, dropped from a height by hungry gulls, eager to eat the contents. As I walk along, something lying on the road glints in the sunlight. A drab brown dog whelk shell has broken open, revealing it's dazzling purple interior. I trace my fingers over the exquisite contours, feeling the smoothness of the newly exposed inside of the shell - marvelling at this tiny glimpse of heaven in my hand.
Tucking my shining treasure carefully into my pocket, I continue on to the pier at the end of the road, and take in the view. I decide to walk round to the other shore and have a look at the new camping pods, so I retrace my steps a little way, before veering off to the west, and following the path over. The ground is so wet - water is lying everywhere, and the ditches are overflowing. But I squelch on and soon I am sitting on the verandah of one of the pods, enjoying the view.
The air is still, and the silence is broken only by the sound of the waves lapping gently on the rocks and the occasional bark from a couple of gulls wheeling around on the warm currents. There is a sudden altercation, and two sheld ducks go scuttling low over the water, hooting loudly, as if in protest - but it is too nice a day for quarrelling, and peace soon returns to the inlet.
I sit for a while, just soaking in the sunshine - feeling the stillness. Silence has a different quality outdoors, and I am aware of it permeating my mind - calming my thoughts. After a time, I think about heading home, but the sight of the Visitor Centre reminds me of that coffee I promised myself on the way down. I wander back along the shore road. A flock of geese are floating serenely on the loch as I pass. One gives a squawk and the rest mutter in reply - I wonder if it was a good joke.
Suitably refreshed by good coffee - and maybe a slice of home-made cake, I wend my way up the hill towards the stones again, and back home. The brightness has gone from the day, and it feels just a little bit colder. I remember the prediction from the school-bus driver that it would rain before the day's end, and think he might be right. Ah well, I have had this glorious morning, and my heart feels so much lighter for that.