north light

words and pictures

Heather, and the Look of Enough

What does enough look like?

I think it must look something like this. This heather, scratchy, scrawny, everyday, catching the late afternoon sunlight.

The heather is so familiar. Such a long-standing a presence in my life.

I realised, taking these photographs, watching this heather, just how many things it reminds me of:

my grandmother’s garden in Skye

childhood holidays in Scotland, walking in sunshine, scratched by the heather

driving back home, heather stuck on the front of the car, wild defiant symbol of freedom before we got swallowed up once more by the south, by the suburbs

walking with my mum, looking for an old fort, still so young and small the heather seemed enormous, and impossible to walk through: scratched and sunny and tired and learning how it feels to walk through the heather

a day out to Loch Fyne, eight years ago, breathing in the west highlands, a draught of respite from my Edinburgh home and impossibly busy work life, buying a bit of heather, and planting it in my tiny patch of garden, a clutch of freedom, a promise of the west, a promise to myself that one day, one day… yes, I would (and I did)

finding myself a year or so later in that tiny garden in Edinburgh, touching the heather, reminded of the promise, reminded of the west, reminded of the thousand childhood memories, the taste of freedom, the call of the moorland, the grief of the city, the tears of recognition at the missing of the land

All of that, yes, all of that, just from the touching of the heather.

And now, here, in this garden in the west, with the river running past and the oystercatchers calling, the buzzards overhead and the woodpeckers hammering, this golden kiss of the late afternoon, and the heathers, dancing pink and scratchy in the light, and my heart, bursting in remembrance of childhood, of land, of freedom, of walking, scratched and sunburnt through the moorlands of the heather, and knowing,

simply knowing,

that this is the look,

this is the feel,

this is the look of enough.

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