|Loch an Eilein|
A week of storms. The wind raging through the trees, round the house, rattling in the chimneys. Rain hammering down out of hard, grey, streaming clouds. The air chill and penetrating. The downside of a Scottish winter, dreich and dreary. The ground matched the air in chaos and wild disruption, littered with fallen twigs and cones and branches and churned to a soggy mess by a slow thaw, the slushy snow and dissolving ice mixing with the soil to create a slick and slimy mud. Walking has been unpleasant, blown sideways by the wind and slithering unsteadily on the unstable, uncertain ground.
|Loch na Gamhna|
Then finally came silence as the wind faded away. The rain still fell, the sky was still dark, but the quiet brought calmness, a chance to pause and take breath, to look round at the world without the disturbance of gales thrashing the air. Nature was still, the incessant, agitated, storm-driven twitching and shaking had gone. The tops still being cloud-shrouded I walked in the old forest around Loch an Eilein and Loch Gamnha, relaxing in the peace below the green pines and pale birches. The rain dimpled the surface of the water but fell without sound, straight down in a gentle, thin, sheet. My mood changed with the weather, and I relaxed and shed the somewhat frenetic tenseness engendered by days of roaring wind. Briefly the rain ceased and a weak sun shone through thinning clouds. Colour appeared in the water and the reeds and the fading, broken-stalked, rusty last year’s bracken. I encountered two acquaintances, briefly met sometime in the past. We stood in the trees and talked of mountains and long walks and ski tours and conservation. I know them better now. The air was still and warm and dry enough that though the last day of January I didn’t feel cold standing there in the woods. As I moved on the rain returned and a slight breeze rippled the surface of the loch. High above I caught a glimpse of ragged edges of remnant snow patches on the mountainsides. The air is cooling now.
|Loch an Eilein|
The next storms will bring snow. Soon it will be skis and igloos again.