Summer is in full swing and tourists bring a bit of buzz to the beach. There are kites in the air and paddle boarders on the water. Wild-swimmers wade through the shallows with orange inflatables. We slip away to where nature makes the only sound. The gentle lapping of waves, the chant of oystercatchers piping.
Deep in the glen we meet a cheerful group of hikers in short sleeves and sun hats. We’re so happy to feel the warm on our skin after one of our longest Winters. The swallows are here, sweeping across the meadow. Buttercups and cowslip sparkle in the light.
Walking through the glens and hills, we meet other walkers who love being here. The purity, the solitude, the wind moving through the pine. It’s as if their branches are opening wide to greet us with a warm welcome.
It is the day after the funeral of our much loved vet. The family asked anyone who wants to say goodbye to wear something blue.
The rains have stopped and the glen is full of bird song. It’s good to smell pine and freshly watered earth after the dry spell. A faint path is covered in paw prints from furry folk who walk here in the night. The more we journey here, the more we feel two worlds connecting.
linked lives ribbons of white bells glitter in the sun
Our Hoopa has been filling our home with music during lockdown and today he received his baglama saz, all the way from Istanbul. There is lots to sniff and discover.
The saz is played in many countries and the tradition is thousands of years old. It made its way from Persia via Azerbaijan, Anatolia, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Berlin to the rest of Europe and across the Atlantic and is played in the rest of Asia too.
People play the saz to accompany poems, songs and stories that are handed down from generation to generation. Ali Ulutaş, a musician, says the saz is a door of secrets. When people play it, listen to it, they get to know the essence within themselves and from that place, they can understand the other.
southern wind warm notes and harmonies fill the room
We are so grateful to hike in the National Park and breathe the mountain air. The higher ground is covered in snow, adding to the freshness. Ground-nesting birds rest on cushions of grass and moss, beneath the heather. We stick to the trails and pace ourselves.
Further ahead, young trees and seedlings are slowly re-greening the hills. For the first time since we moved here, neighbouring land managers and conservation groups are working together to create one seamless, natural landscape. A landscape for the wildlife, and for the people who live and walk here too.
The pine with yellow fluorescent dots have gone, a few with pink dots are still standing. The logging truck left deep trails in the mud, filled with melted snow. The wood feels bereaved and empty at first. Until we notice the moss, shoots of spring grass and the finely barbed beginnings of a wild rose.
The wind has changed direction and it’s best to stay at home. It’s blowing straight from the Arctic and, just for a short while, we get a sense of life in another place, far away from here. A place where the sun rarely sets in Summer and barely rises in Winter. A place with polar bears, reindeer and huskies. A place similar to what it was like here, thousands and thousands of years ago.
The temperature has dipped and yesterday’s snow lingers on the higher ground. The light bounces through scattered clouds as we walk along the soft sand. The tide is rolling in. Even with restrictions in place there’s freedom in each movement.
Now the snow has melted snowdrops and crocus begin to bloom. Swans are renewing their bond, young gulls are scouting for nest sites. Seasons continue to loop as if there’s no pandemic. There’s a chill from the eastern wind, even though the temperature is rising.