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  • Monique Sliedrecht

Winds of May




The super moon has come and gone and we are entering a new phase of the lunar calendar. Days lengthen, tides continue to ebb and flow, seaweeds thrive in their underwater and sunlit habitats, and birds breed and nest in the trees, fields and clifftops.

Hard to believe, but it is now the month of May!


We are at the end of a long stretch of lockdown in Scotland and it is as though we are spreading our wings again for the first time in a while. The sense of freedom to step out and find our feet is glorious. However, with that ‘unlocking’ comes some feeling of trepidation. What will it be like to go to that still familiar - but strangely new - place; to see a friend or acquaintance after all this time - when so much has happened, and yet, so little?


Experiences from before are faint in our memories, having lain dormant for a time. And over the course of this last year and 5 full seasons, our lives have been changed. It is as though we are required to re-learn through recent circumstances; as we step out of our dens, eyes dazzled by the piercing broad daylight.



During springtime, I’ve enjoyed watching the activity of wood pigeons fluttering up from old stone structures, razorbills and guillemots populating the sea edges, and fulmars dropping into the space between cliff ledges.


The lifting of restrictions and coming out into the light of day is perhaps a little bit like flying from a great height for the first time and falling into the unknown, trusting our wings to lift us up and navigate through varying air currents.


Travelling across the Pentland Firth to Orkney, my senses are attuned to the sights and sounds in a fresh way. I can relate to the porpoise jumping through the waves in the wake of the moving ferry, or the gannet swooping down low over the swirling sea. I experience the joy of spreading wings as I span the distance beyond my small and familiar territory. My lungs expand to breathe in the salty air. It is exhilarating.


This is a moment to reawaken memory and experience, to move into the way of love, step by step, having learned through letting go. It is like seeing the world for the first time.


How will you spread your wings?

Winds of May

by James Joyce

‘Winds of May, that dance on the sea,

Dancing a ring-around in glee

From furrow to furrow, while overhead

The foam flies up to be garlanded,

In silvery arches spanning the air,

Saw you my true love anywhere?

Welladay! Welladay!

For the winds of May!

Love is unhappy when love is away!’

--

My paintings will be on display in the windows of Northlight Gallery in Stromness, Orkney from 8 - 21 May. The images of seascape and birds, painted on wood panel and door, reflect time spent near the sea, where the wind blows with the tide, finding its way into the forgotten crofts of the northern coast. With the opening of a door comes a sudden flutter of wings rising on the same May wind as the waves of the tide.

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