the inner citadel

dec-19 | #corbenic #poetrypath #dunkeld #perthshire
mid-winter, late-afternoon, walking the path

“eventually all of us
should adventure
down into ourselves
when the living and loving
has quietened
we should take the journey
into the dark interior
down, down, down
past Aladdin’s cave
and the vivid stars
to find the core
the inner citadel
it is always there, in everyone

Margaret Gillies Brown, Of Rowans and Pearl, Argyll Publishing 2000


september seasons

sep-19 | #longphilipburn #corbielynn #philiphaugh
mid-autumn, early-afternoon, first signs of seasonal change

“September has come, it is hers
Whose vitality leaps in the autumn,
Whose nature prefers
Trees without leaves and a fire in the fireplace.
So I give her this month and the next
Though the whole of my year should be hers who has rendered already
So many of its days intolerable or perplexed
But so many more so happy.
Who has left a scent on my life, and left my walls
Dancing over and over with her shadow
Whose hair is twined in all my waterfalls
And all of London littered with remembered kisses.”

Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


time to wake up

sep-19 | #gretathunberg #climatestrike #fridaysforfuture
mid-autumn, early-afternoon #lochfreuchie #glenquaich #weneedtosavethis #now

“Please save your praise. We don’t want it. Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it because it doesn’t lead to anything.

“I have a dream that the people in power, as well as the media, start treating this crisis like the existential emergency it is. In fact I have many dreams. But this is the year 2019. This is not the time and place for dreams. This is the time to wake up. This is the moment in history when we need to be wide awake. And yes, we need dreams, we can not live without dreams. But there’s a time and place for everything. And dreams can not stand in the way of telling it like it is. And yet, wherever I go I seem to be surrounded by fairytales. Business leaders, elected officials all across the political spectrum spending their time making up and telling bedtime stories that soothe us, that make us go back to sleep. These are ‘feel-good’ stories about how we are going to fix everything. How wonderful everything is going to be when we have ‘solved’ everything. But the problem we are facing is not that we lack the ability to dream, or to imagine a better world. The problem now is that we need to wake up.”

US Congressional Hearing – Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis | Greta Thunberg


another option

sep-19 | #inmygarden #foxfield #selkirk
early-autumn, early-evening, grown from seed, poppies in full flower

“Women have another option. They can aspire to be wise, not merely nice; to be competent, not merely helpful; to be strong, not merely graceful; to be ambitious for themselves, not merely for themselves in relation to men and children. They can let themselves age naturally and without embarrassment, actively protesting and disobeying the conventions that stem from this society’s double standard about aging. Instead of being girls, girls as long as possible, who then age humiliatingly into middle-aged women, they can become women much earlier – and remain active adults, enjoying the long, erotic career of which women are capable, far longer. Women should allow their faces to show the lives they have lived. Women should tell the truth.”

The Double Standard of Ageing | Susan Sontag


your wild and precious life

aug-19 | #inmygarden #foxfield #selkirk
early-autumn, early-evening, love-in-a-mist grown from seed, in full flower

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

The Summer Day | Mary Oliver



the delicate air of twilight

aug-19 | #onmywalk #erochty #perthshire
early-autumn, late-afternoon, visiting the extraordinarily evocative and atmospheric #donaldsdam in a hidden corner of the #highlands

“When I cross again the bridge that is really the steers’ fence, the wind has thinned to the delicate air of twilight; it crumples the water’s skin. I watch the running sheets of light raised on the creek’s surface. The sight has the appeal of the purely passive, like the racing of light under clouds on a field, the beautiful dream at the moment of being dreamed. The breeze is the merest puff, but you yourself sail headlong and breathless under the gale force of the spirit.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek | Annie Dillard




the clarity of water

july-19 | #longphilipburn #corbielynn #philiphaugh #selkirk #fairypool
mid-summer, mid-afternoon, continuing to play with a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed

“The clear water was at our knees, then at our thighs. How clear it was only this walking into it could reveal. To look through it was to discover its own properties. What we saw under the water had a sharper clarity than what we saw through air. We waded on into the brightness, and the width of the water increased, as it always does when one is on or in it, so that the loch no longer seemed narrow, but the far side was a long way off. Then I looked down; and at my feet there opened a gulf of brightness so profound that the mind stopped. We were standing on the edge of a shelf that ran some yards into the loch before plunging down to the pit that is the true bottom. And through that inordinate clearness we saw to the depth of the pit. So limpid was it that every stone was clear.

“I motioned to my companion, who was a step behind, and she came, and glanced as I had down the submerged precipice. Then we looked into each other’s eyes, and again into the pit. There was nothing that seemed worth saying. My spirit was as naked as my body. It was one of the most defenceless moments of my life.”

The Living Mountain | Nan Shepherd


i go to the water

july-19 | #longphilipburn #philiphaugh #selkirk #fairypool
mid-summer, midday, playing with a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed

“If the day is fine, any walk will do; it all looks good. Water in particular looks its best, reflecting blue sky in the flat, and chopping it into gravelled shallows and white chute and foam in the riffles. On a dark day, or a hazy one, everything’s washed out and lacklustre but the water. It carries its own lights. I set out for the railroad tracks, for the hill the flocks fly over, for the woods where the white mare lives. But I go to the water.”

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek | Annie Dillard


a deliberate life

march-19 | #ettrickkirk #midgehope #thirlestane #ettrickvalley
early morning, early spring, following the family line

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

Walden | Henry David Thoreau



poetry is not a luxury

march-19 | #ettrickriver #philiphaugh #selkirk #southernscotland #visualpoetry
dog daisies and daffodils, early summer sunlight, simple perfection

“The quality of light by which we scrutinise our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realised.

“This is poetry and illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are—until the poem—nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt.

“The distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought as dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding.”

In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens | Alice Walker


cold spring

february-19 | #longphilipburn #philiphaugh #selkirk #februaryfrost
late afternoon sun, early evening shadows

From a lofty mountain peak
the view extends forever
I sit here unknown
the lone moon lights Cold Spring
in the spring there is no moon
the moon is in the sky
I sing the single song
a song in which there is no Zen

Lone Moon Lights Cold Spring | Bill Porter with © emergence magazine


a life of real good trouble

november-18 | #blackbobwalk #selkirk #wintersun
late afternoon, mid winter, chasing silhouettes and shadows

“In Gnostic societies and cultures, there’s a belief that on the night you were born, you had a twin that was thrown into exile—we all have one. And the business of being a functioning adult, with all the complexity that entails, is that at certain points in your life, you seek out the wild twin that culture at large wants you to ignore. So you gotta be in touch with your own senses to do that. You’ve got to be un-tranced. You’ve got to be woken up. You’ve gotta know what you stand for. You gotta know what you’re gonna defend. You gotta know what music you like, what colors speak to you—the whole thing.

“James Joyce used to use a fancy phrase for this: he calls it aesthetic arrest. And all aesthetic arrest actually means is, what are those one or two images that have utterly claimed your heart—claimed [it] beyond thought, claimed [it] beyond the temporary fashions of culture? And you are just forever in love with two or three things. And then the idea is, if you work out of them, if—to use that phrase I said earlier on—you let them have their way with you, then a life of real good trouble can be bequeathed to you.

“If you’re over the age of twelve and under the age of ninety and you’re not in some kind of trouble, what the hell are you doing?”

Mud and Antler Bone | Martin Shaw with © emergence magazine