the places we go to feel small
Artist, Explorer, Environmentalist
Scotland, The Great Wild Somewhere
Ahead of me is what seems to be a never-ending body of water, deep as it is infinitely long, full of life and colour. To my right the cliff edge falls into the water, the road I have been travelling on continuing over the hills. I’m standing on a rock smoothed by the constant and sometimes extreme weather, surrounded by boggy marsh that is blooming with resilient foliage of rich ambers and burnt sienna. Today the wind isn’t that strong, and sunlight bounces off the water. In the distant waves turn white as they hit the rocky outlands and birds dance on the wind, hunting on the life within the water.
I’m high, and it’s not the first time I have stood on this spot. If I were to lean slightly forward I would fall, taken by the land and sea, as insignificant to the world as a leaf falling from a tree. I haven’t even mentioned the sky; the clouds, stars... If there is one thing that makes you feel small wherever you are, it’s the giant space above our heads. You can get lost there - as I stand here, cold but wrapped up, my feet firmly grounded, a step away from falling and my head in the clouds, I get the feeling of being beautifully insignificant and small, coupled with a sheer thrill of being in the wild openness. Whatever this feeling is, it’s what I chase, what I try in vain to express into my work.
As you can tell I tend to let my imagine run away when I’m in spaces like these, and even more embarrassing I turn into a less than adequate poet, stumbling over word to explain an indescribable feeling. Its one of the reason I draw, but even with that I struggle to express it. The people who like my work, get it, and when I meet them there is this unsaid understanding. I think it’s this feeling that all great explorers have or why climbers climb, paragliders take to the sky, people jump out of planes, hikers walk all day in the rain for a small glimpse of a view…all of them playing around the edge of the wild. It’s positive, scary, grounding and lifting – hope maybe?
I’m in Scotland, a place that got deep into my heart and made a cosy home the first time I stepped foot onto its body. Scotland is ancient, wild, untamed and full of a raw spirit, along with that stubborn ability to live and thrive. I live in London, a space suffocated with sounds, lights, dreams, hope, adventures, culture and pressures. When I moved here I only thought I would be in the city for the a few years as I had always wanted to live in a remote corner of the world, our own little haven, with animals, wood fires, working with my hands, creating, making. Little kids running around in mud, eating worms, building dens. Yep its very romantic, idealistic even. Luckily for me, I met a likeminded soul, who shares the same hope and pull of the wild, maybe in more practical and logical way than me (he’s a geologist).
And here is where I want to introduce you to our shared vision and very much active plan for setting up a home and lifestyle in Scotland, specially on the Isle of Harris. For those who know me this future is as much a part of me as my foot?! We have ideas, visions and plans and I hope as I continue to write (and get better at it) that this narrative will play out. There are so many paths we could take, my writing carving out the path as the years go by. Maybe one day I’ll be sitting by the fire in my own Scotland home, telling the grandchildren our story, recounting the path that lead us to the Great Wild Somewhere.