The last few days have been unusually calm in the north of Scotland - like the north is pausing in stillness.
It is the tranquility of this quiet autumn calm that I love and that fills my soul with a longing that is hard to describe. It is the silent hush that Keats so beautifully alludes to in his Autumn poem.
'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...'
Yesterday I went for a drive along the north coast of Scotland, in Sutherland - one of my favourite places to go. The beauty was almost overwhelming. I wanted to somehow reach out and embrace it all - take it with me - consume it and keep it forever.
There was a mist hanging over the moors and hills that matched the hovering sensation in these days, like the time is coming for us to land somewhere; to commit.
The lull in the air almost gives a false sense of security, but I know these days are fleeting. Perhaps that is the place where the longing lies, between stillness and an ever quickening breeze.
I think of Gerard Manley Hopkins poem: God's Grandeur - a familiar piece to go to when no other words can describe what we see or experience in the bigness of nature. Poetry is so powerful that way.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
This last week, I’ve ended up surrounding myself in the studio with a lot of 'starts' - pieces that have been assembled up to a point. However, all of them require the next action of creative commitment and choice to be carried out in order to reach an inner satisfaction and come to greater completion.
It makes me think of a kestrel hung in space, a tern flapping in a small margin of sky over the still water, or a tiny bird fluttering it’s wings in place, before deciding to swoop down or fly away. At some point it will be time to put a colour down, or two or three…. to make decisions and errors by glueing and sawing off edges, leading to next steps and new insights and/or 'aha' moments. It will be time to move forward with renewed gusto and sense of hope and purpose. To step ahead with intention.
But it's ok to hover - for a while....
Rainer Maria Rilke The leaves fall, fall as from far,
Like distant gardens withered in the heavens;
They fall with slow and lingering descent.
And in the nights the heavy Earth, too, falls
From out the stars into the Solitude.
Thus all doth fall. This hand of mine must fall
And lo! the other one:—it is the law.
But there is One who holds this falling
Infinitely softly in His hands.