dawn at Cantick Head Lighthouse

Moments flow faster than I can write them down.

While the night-long conversations of lighthouses safely hush into a velvet-grey dawn, over South Ronaldsay low clouds gather and brim with fire. They seem to tell of an unearthly conflagration out in the North Sea, beyond the horizon, somewhere near Valhalla.

And the clouds fleetingly present a scene from heaven to us here in our neat, white-washed cottage. We just need to unbolt the door, reach out and capture it.

Yet by the time coats are on and cameras to hand the flames have died back. There is merely a pretty picture in the view finder.

The sun must now be at large but wholly hidden, directing its cold fury unseen. For again there is grey light everywhere but a very different grey this time, a hard grey.

And with that hardness the rain lashes at our window. The chimney rattles and gasps. Warmth flees in the face of the storm. South Ronaldsay turns to a ghostly shadow and becomes one with the murk.

Now, with the weather set, comes a long, sheltered moment in which to write.

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