No internet signal yesterday, hence no blog post!
Louise and I stayed overnight in Lickisto (north of Tarbert on the Isle of Harris) an extraordinary moonscape-like coastline (which our host told us was the setting for ‘2000 A Space Odyssey’) an otherwordly, peaty landscape carpeted in spongy sphagnum moss, strewn with ‘incidentals’ – boulders randomly dispersed thousands of years ago as glaciers melted and receded.
Our yurt was one of several dotted amongst the marshland rushes, each having a little stove with smoke drifting into the low clouds. I was reminded of marshwiggle country, the feel of utter peace and remoteness. Utterly magical.
This followed on from our meeting in Stornaway earlier in the day with Ian Stephen (poet from Lewis). We talked about the roots and links of stories and myths, from the Hebrides and across Scandinavia.
Ian is also a navigator who has sailed the north seas alongside artists, musicians and fellow poets. Louise and I were delighted to record a few poetry recitals (limited technology means I’ll have to await my return to Edinburgh to pist these).
We found time to stop at the stones of Callanish on Lewis yesterday before driving down to Harris. Beautful, slender columns of Lewisian gneiss – they have an incredibly graceful presence.
I began to draw parallels between the layers of gneiss deep beneath layers of peat, laid down over thousands of years, and the layers of stories we spoke about with Ian, their origins buried in time and conciousness, emerging in fragments that tease us with partially lost meaning; it’s probably the unknown element that so charms our imagination.