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Archive for 2021

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Tried my hand at Flower Picking today. The crew I worked with were a rag tag bunch of guys with good stories and a variety of quirks and unique experiences that they willingly shared with me. 
One guy, Dan, a Boat Captain in the Summer season, said √Āmerican? Don't they do this on the chain gangs in Lousiana prisons...picking flowers I mean'... Apparently I got high marks as I lasted the full day...The back braking work sometimes has people quit as quickly as 40 minutes!





The Isles of Scilly are patchworked with tiny fields surrounded by high protective hedges that, during the winter, are filled with flowers. Over a dozen different varieties of narcissi are grown on the Islands which bloom much earlier than in other parts of the UK, thanks to the temperate climate. The first flowers are cut in October, depending on the weather of course, and the last in March, giving a good winter crop and making flowers the main agricultural product on the Islands.

The flowers are picked whilst still in bud, so that by the time they reach the shops on the mainland, they are still at their best and will last the longest. The winter work serves a good purpose in that those who work for the summer tourist industry can often find employment out of season.

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2021, a year of Archipelagos for Sarah, Skyelark and me -Bahamas, Shetland, and next week IOS, Isles of Scilly. Actually Scilly is a ‘they’. An archipelago of 140 or so islands, islets and rocks.

Where is it? When you reach Land’s End...keep going(by air or sea) 28 miles due South. We will be in St. Mary’s, the largest of the islands at 2½ miles by 1¾ miles. It is home to most of the people of the Isles of Scilly.



 



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 Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. Dubbed: antifragile, these are things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. Shetland has definitely provided an anti fragile worls. now as we reentet  into the  CZs Comfort Zones of English Country life, time to reflect, appreciate and enjoy what was missing for these past 4 months- comforts



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Show rather than tell- So enamored with the technology and immediacy of youtube, instagram and FB. Ansel Adams, famous wilderness box photographer said,..only photographs can tell the truth... It is indisputable...(videos too).

 You can embellish and BS and make things up, and I am all for one  not letting the truth get into the way of telling a good story---But Beauty is truth and truth is beauty and when you capture the motion of the ocean or these clouds in a reflective pool, there is a kind of integrity that usurps words. The visual vocabulary that the cinematic wizards use to trompe the eye are unnecessary here: Point and shoot and  let Mother Nature and Father Time do the rest.  Roll Video...
 





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Another glorious day on Fair Isle. Where? Shetland, also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland. It  is a subarctic archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated in the Northern Atlantic, between Great Britain, the Faroe Islands and Norway. It is the northernmost part of Scotland and of the wider United Kingdom. And 24 miles from Shetland  Mainland. It is Britian's most remote inhabited island--- Fair Isle.

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 I, the land

Now on Fair Isle, because of salt water, and clearings for sheep,  there are no such things as 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.


 

I was asked today, "Who is the most important person I ever met?" I answered: "That mountain."


Gathering Moss
Paying attention  to life here at all scales, I obviously can see these big mountians but it is the little moss that grows on them that fascinates too. 

Mosses, to be sure, are scientifically impressive beyond measure — the amphibians of vegetation, they were among the first plants to emerge from the ocean and conquer the land.But beyond their scientific notoriety, mosses possess a kind of lyrical splendor that  Fair Isle unravels with enchanting elegance — splendor that has to do with what these tiny organisms teach us about the art of seeing. 



Mosses  number some 22,000 species and  they inhabit nearly every ecosystem on earth and grow in places as diverse as the branch of an oak and the back of a beetle. 

I look at all this vastness and return to all this smallness, the magic of moss-an extraordinary celebration of smallness and the grandeur of life,. This  humble moss is  surprisingly magical , covering the whole island. It is the signiture of all things here- The sheep eat it, we walk on it and the mountians are clothed in it.

Walking on this soft sponginess is like walking on a bouncy conveyer belt...



Nature itself is one vast miracle and each of us in our  personal life repeats that miracle. Human nature? Perhaps.


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