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Skyelark's Splendor In The Grass




Skyelark takes early retirement, out of the Sheep Herding business(HAHA)


Rock Pool Rocks! The resumption of the Cold Water Immerssion baths, after yesterday's gale winds stymied the ritual.


A Little Reflection:

 

We all are co creators of our current world through our choices, our decisions, our intentions. The best we can do is live as various as possible. THE savage and beautiful country that we’ve created and are still creating between where we  begun and where we’re going continues. 

This quote by Diane Ackerman speak to us Are you ready to climb aboard?

 

The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.”

 

We hear the white noise of the wind, steady and rough as surf curling along an infinte  shore. We get paid for the waiting, the work is free…. There is  nothing to do but wait. The long hours of travel and preparation to get to Shetland, and then the longer hours of waiting. All for that one turbo charged, adrenaline-rushing vision when the island  suddenly declares itself. We are no longer a passenger in our own life, riding the bus, but in the driver’s seat. We are adding moments and length to our life, but also, and more importantly, width.

 

Merely walking along these cliffs, is like walking in the sky. I don’t have to look up. I breath it in deeply, the millions of molecules of sky, and then exhale them back into the world…. Walking is a celebratory event and prayer, and a deeper form of inquiry. It  insinuates itself and informs the day.

The rock pool plunge value adds to the experience of my experiments with truth- Beauty is truth truth is beauty.

 

 

 

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 Malcom's Head Hike Today




The word “genius” in the modern sense, after all, originates in the Latin phrase genius loci — “the spirit of a place.  So Fair Isle is/has  a genius! It's a great place to get lost.Huh? 

The question then is how to get lost. Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.

There is a quote all who wander are not lost- but The things we want are life-changing and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that change… Never to get lost is not to live. Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.

An adventure is nothing more than bad planning- this act of orienting ourselves — to the moment, to the world, to our own selves — is perhaps the most elusive art of all, and our attempts to master it often leave us fumbling, frustrated, discombobulated. And yet therein lies our greatest capacity for growth and self-transcendence.

How do you go about finding that thing, that currently is without a present knowing  to you .

Basically, embracing uncertainty and doubt- Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.

Don’t fight it: The word “lost” comes from the Old Norse los, meaning the disbanding of an army, and this origin suggests soldiers falling out of formation to go home, a truce with the wide world. I worry now that many people never disband their armies, never go beyond what they know. Advertising, alarmist news, technology, incessant busyness, and the design of public and private space conspire to make it so.

QUOTES:

Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Scientists too, as J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked, “live always at the ‘edge of mystery’ — the boundary of the unknown.” But they transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.

How do you calculate upon the unforeseen? It seems to be an art of recognizing the role of the unforeseen, of keeping your balance amid surprises, of collaborating with chance, of recognizing that there are some essential mysteries in the world and thereby a limit to calculation, to plan, to control. To calculate on the unforeseen is perhaps exactly the paradoxical operation that life most requires of us.


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All of humanity’s problems,” the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a COLD WATER IMMERSION ROCK POOL alone.”


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Fertile solitude  is the basic unit of a full and contented life. The line between solitude and loneliness can be thin but there is a difference. Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorize. I have no such difficulty confessing solitude here on Fair Isle.

What does it feel like to be lonely? It feels like being hungry: like being hungry when everyone around you is readying for a feast. Fertile solitude, however, is learning to enjoy your own company.More than that, it is a developmental achievement, on the road to knowing thy self.

 

“All of humanity’s problems,” the French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654, “stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Or for that matter, on Britian’s most remote inhabited island.

The best things in life happen to you when you’re alone and despite the camaraderie and the spirit of cooperation, for the most part we are alone on this island.  That’s ok.

Everyone should experience at least one prolonged period of solitude in life. For in true solitude, one’s inner voices become audible and in consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.


 

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Set in the middle of the North Atlantic, 38km (23mi) from  Shetland and 43km (27mi) from  Orkney, Fair Isle is as far away from civilization as it’s possible to get in the British Isles. Measuring barely five kilometers across and two kilometers wide, the island is home to a tiny permanent population of just 45 people. In fact, it’s the most remote inhabited place in the UK.

Fair Isle is a lyrical reminder to break the momentum of busyness that fuels  the sadness of never understanding ourselves. It makes a place to sit down. So: Sit down. Be quiet…The impulse to create begins… in a tunnel of silence.

 

 Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy. It’s worth remembering, here, that “busy is a decision” — one we constantly make, and often to our own detriment.

 

Travel is an activity not an accomplishment, yet lately, because of the global pandemic, one of the great cruelties and great glories of  traveling nowadays is the wild discrepancy of timelines between vision and execution. When we dream up an itinerary , we invariably underestimate the amount of time and effort required to make it a reality. Our  Fair Isle return took 6 months!

 

Rather than a cognitive bug, perhaps this is the supreme coping mechanism of the pandemic mind — if we could see clearly the toil ahead at the outset of any travel plans, we might be too dispirited to begin, too reluctant to gamble between the heroic and the foolish, too paralyzed to walk the long and tenuous tightrope of hope and fear by which any worthwhile destination is reached.

 

So We are: HERE NOW.









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These North Atlantic Grey Seals want to make a happy meal outta me!

I was confident that seals are generally gentle creatures unless they feel threatened. Seals default is to choose flight over fight, but they are most likely to be aggressive if you come between:them, which is what I have been doing all week! SO I had to rework my plan, and change venues for the Cold Water Immerssion Therapy-back to the South Lighthouse on Fair Isle.

Seals are the largest land breeding mammal in the UK and can be very intimidating in the water. Always let seals make the first move – let them approach you. Sit back, wait quietly and observe. Nah, I just won't get in the water with them....


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Our 2020 Lake Tahoe Trip
 

A tree is a little bit of the future.

Trees dominate the world’s oldest living organisms. Since the dawn of our species, they have been our silent companions, permeating our most enduring tales and never ceasing to inspire fantastical cosmogonies. Hermann Hesse called them “the most penetrating of preachers.” A forgotten seventeenth-century English gardener wrote of how they “speak to the mind, and tell us many things, and teach us many good lessons.-The Scret Lives Of Trees

There are no trees on Fair Isle

FADE IN: Beneath the canopy of trees, with  roots in the earth and arms stretching toward the sky, I come back to that place I have never been before - and this imense wonder comes over us as  if the trees are there to seek and to know the greater mysteries. I find this comforting, but on Fair Isle, and Shetland in general, there are no trees to speak of. So why do we still manage to have an imense sense of wonder. I wrote of the elegant moss that adorns the land-scientifically impressive beyond measure — the amphibians of vegetation, they were among the first plants to emerge from the ocean and conquer the land. 

The slient companions are the mountains here on Fair Isle, replacing what Hesse calls our most penetraing preechers-- but then I remeber Norway ,Pulpet Rock and all those majestic fjords of Geirange and Stavenger.  This place is like Norway, sans trees.


 Back to trees:

I always found  these great constellations of Cathedral  and Ponderosa Pines, at Lake Tahoe for instance, to be immense objects of wonder. Alaska, and British Columbia, with ribbons of Christmas trees. are also impressive testimonials to the secret life of wood- a kind of Christianity of birth, death rebirth regeneration and resurection on full display on the Alaska Wildlife highway as well

 Every day in their forests was a day of discovery. I get religion. This consecration, and baptism. This is where Mother Nature lives.

The lungs of the earth-trees give off a hint of gladness, and  the way they stand guard over the night, tall in all kinds of weather ===trees remaina lushish metaphor for carrying on, and  the perfect role model and solace for the occasional existential dilemma of being human. They even gave each other space-- slim contour of room around each other. They seem to get along well with each other as valued members of the ├žommunity'. The average tree grows its branches out until it encounters the branch tips of a neighboring tree of the same height. It doesn’t grow any wider because the air and better light in this space are already taken.

I, the land

Now on Fair Isle, because of salt water, and clearings for sheep, there are no such trees on Fair Isle. The Life of wood, and how it shows growth death and  rebirth, is just a soveneir. There is another kind of ecosystem here, and it works, a solitude but not lonlieness, and a general unwinding of the worlds we have known.


The only thing to stand guard between the solitude of me is two defient rocky mountains in the distance, as I look out of our kitchen window. Yet these rocks rock! Love it here. In all its stark spledor. I have had this saying: I haven't been everywhere, but it is on my list. Well, Fair Isle is North Of Everywhere.




 






Lake Tahoe
 


”Trees dominate the world’s the oldest living organisms. Since the dawn of our species, they have been oursilent companions, permeating our most enduring tales and never ceasing to inspire fantastical cosmogonies. Hermann Hesse called them “the most penetrating of preachers.” A forgotten seventeenth-century English gardener wrote of how they “speak to the mind, and tell us many things, and teach us many good lessons.”"The Scret Lives Of Trees

There are no trees on Fair Isle

FADE IN: Beneath the canopy of trees, with  roots in the earth and its arms stretching toward the sky as if to seek and to know the great mystery. I find this comforting, but on Fair Isle, and SHetland in general, there are no trees to speak of.

I always found  these great constellations of Cathedral  and Ponderosa Pines, at Lake Tahoe for instance, to be immense objects of wonder. Alaska, and British Columbia, with ribbons of Christmas trees.. on the Alaska Wildlife highway as well is stunning! Every day in their forests was a day of discovery. I got religion. This is where Mother Nature lives.

The lungs of the earth-trees give off a hint of gladness, and  the way they stand guard over the night, tall in all kinds of weather ===trees remaina lushish metaphor for carrying on, and  the perfect role model and solace for the occasional existential dilemma of being human. They even gave each other space-- slim contour of room around each other. They seem to get along well with each other as valued members of the ├žommunity'. The average tree grows its branches out until it encounters the branch tips of a neighboring tree of the same height. It doesn’t grow any wider because the air and better light in this space are already taken.

I, the land

Now on Fair Isle, because of salt water, and clearings for sheep, there are no such trees on Fair Isle. The Life of wood, and how it shows growth death and  rebirth, is just a soveneir. There is another kind of ecosystem here, and it works, a solitude but not lonlieness, and a general unwinding of the worlds we have known.


The only thing to stand guard between the solitude of me is two defient rocky mountains in the distance, as I look out of our kitchen window. Yet these rocks rock! Love it here. In all its stark spledor. I have had this saying: I haven't been everywhere, but it is on my list. Well, Fair Isle is North Of Everywhere.



 






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Historically, the Scottie was bred by farmers to help them manage vermin problems. They  would follow prey, such as badgers, foxes, and other vermin, right into their burrows and then try to dig them out. Such breeds of dogs are known as Earth dogs. Scottish Terriers do well in earthdog trials, which are a simulated hunt.



Our Scottish Terrier and her breed, is nicknamed the “Diehard,” and that should give you some indication of her personality. She’s independent, feisty and not afraid to stand up for herself. She’s always ready to play and to chase, especially sheep.



 

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We didn't wake up this morning, we came to.

Set in the middle of the North Atlantic, 38km (23mi) from Shetland and 43km (27mi) from Orkney, Fair Isle is as far away from civilization as it’s possible to get in the British Isles. Measuring barely five kilometers across and two kilometers wide, the island is home to a tiny permanent population of just 45 people. In fact, it’s the most remote inhabited place in the UK.

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Wild Swimming At North Haven
Tractor Training



Sheep Roundup:



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After greeting Sarah and Pam at the airport, I had time to jump in the ice pool, and it was particularly spectacular, with waves crashing over the sea walls and providing icy new H2OMG.


Let's go island hopping.

The only true way to “Island Hop” in Shetland  is by Plane. There is a Plan B Ferry, but to save time---the flight is 25 minutes verses 2.5 hours by sea, makes it a longer  and sometimes choppy waters experience.






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