Sailing into the sunset

A ferry passes the headlands of Mull, in the glow of a peachy sunset.  From the island of Easdale, on Scotland’s west coast.

A few days enjoying the tranquility and peace on the tiny island of Easdale, days spent just watching the endlessly changing sea, the constant interplay between sea, clouds, the light and the land – mostly the distant landmass of Mull, showing us her mountainous side above a sea haze before disappearing into mist for another wee while.

Mull as seen from Easdale island, on the west coast of Scotland
The sea really is this green!

Easdale has fascinating history and geology, being one of Scotland’s ‘slate islands’.  Slate was quarried here from historic times,, and at its height in the nineteenth century exported all around the world.  The quarries, going hundreds of feet below sea level, were inundated after storms and a tidal wave, and abandoned in the early 20th century.  Now, they form ideal sunset reflection pools, and host the annual world stone-skimming championships(!)

Its interesting how that industrial past has transformed into a deeply peaceful place, intimately entwined and governed by the forces of nature, with a small but vibrant community. There are no roads, no cars, just the sounds (and taste) of the sea, the distant crash of surf on the far side, the gentle lapping around the harbour, and the constant ‘peep peep’ of oystercatchers.

We carry the ocean inside us , in our blood.  After spending time with the ocean,  I feel like we reawaken primordial memories, and carry that movement, that deep connection with life, consciously within us.

“Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time…”

– John O’Donohue

Just reading these words, I slow down, and tune more consciously into my breathing and the connections in my memories to the natural world.


Easdale Photography Courses
Coincidentally… my good friend the photographer Colin McPherson is running photography courses based on Easdale, in June and July, helping you explore what makes a great photograph and how to take one.   More details here: Easdale photography course ›

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