Already, it is May.
How strange, the way time moves. Sometimes it gallops; sometimes, it crawls. Occasionally it appears to do both at the same time.
We have been in lockdown now for around seven weeks. We are still very lucky here in Assynt, in that we can get out and enjoy the wilderness without much risk of bumping into a single soul and if we do, it’ll be someone we know. We are getting to used to this. Some days it feels like bliss! The roads are empty and quiet. The wildlife is noisy!
Of course, it’s a double-edged sword. This should be the start of the busy season. The time we make our income, which for many of us must see us through the whole year. Winters are long, and dark. We live for the bright, light days and the return of tourists, our life-blood.
We are uncertain, still, if we will be ‘open’ again, in any way, before the end of the summer. But the warm spring sunshine won’t wait, and souls need nourishment.
May is my favourite time of year. The pale greens are just beginning to soften the landscape. Everything is in bud, nesting, being born or reborn. The midges are still very tentative and long may that continue!
During a particularly warm spell, Craig and I put my two kayaks on top of the car and took them to the shores of Loch Sionnascaig. A boggy porterage down to a smaller loch, a short paddle across then a long, tussocky slog later, we were in the large, island-studded expanse which I had previously only ever admired from the shoreline or mountaintop. We had the most perfect of days paddling the mirror-calm waters and landing on the wooded islets, some with pretty shingle beaches and trees perfectly placed to string a hammock.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the place look more beautiful. Luckily I had my paints with me although I’d somehow managed to forget my sketchbook. Scrabbling around in the car I had found two pieces of scrap paper but neither were really up to the job so my efforts did not do the place justice. I will return.
Not every day is an outdoor day in Scotland. While sometimes the weather can turn from something you ‘wouldn’t put a dog out into’ to positively Caribbean in the space of a morning, there are days when, in the absence of gainful employment, one elects to stay inside. During these kinds of day I have been following a creative writing course which I have very much enjoyed. I’ve always wanted to find the time to write, and now I have it.
Wistfully planning my next overseas adventure has been another pastime although this has been exciting and anxiety-provoking in equal measure as nobody can really predict how this will all pan out.
I’m an optimist at heart and will keep on believing. In the meantime there are kayaks, hammocks, picnics and paints.