Almost the last day here.

I catch the ferry tomorrow evening. This week has been cold and grey and wet and very windy. It’s difficult to draw when the wind tears at the paper and ruffles and flips the drawing book over. Next time, heavy duty elastic bands to hold the page down, I think. And yes, definitely a next time. Shetland is extraordinary though I’m still not really sure why. It’s at least partly the rapid change in weather. The morning may be grey, low clouds obscuring the hills and sea. Then suddenly the sea turns cobalt, the sky is cerulean, the lochs are deep ultramarine and what had been sour, sodden raw umber lumps turn lavender, jade, rose, cream as the sun shines.

If the horizon

is the line where the sea touches the sky then there are few horizons in Shetland. The convoluted, serpentine coastline hides the horizon behind islands, inlets, cliff and hills. Even where the land drops away into the Atlantic or the North Sea the horizon disappears behind deep clouds and haze. I came here thinking that, this time, I would be able to see Shetland as it really was. What hubris, what foolish pride! Once again, Shetland lies open and clear beneath the sky and hides itself in plain sight.

Rainbows are made up

of drops of water. They seem to stay still but, in fact, the water droplets constantly fall down wards towards the earth. Waves travel not over but through water. The water circles beneath the wave and is left behind as the wave travels on towards the shore. What seems to be unending movement actually stands still and what appears unmoving is in 'constant movement. And I am standing on top of a cliff in a shower of hail, while my drawing turns to pulp, looking at the rainbow in the spindrift over waves that have travelled across the Atlantic Ocean.

It was raining when the ferry left Aberdeen

and my first sight of Shetland was in the rain too. But since then the weather for about half the day has been beautiful. Blue skies, no wind and no wild seas either. Even when the rain starts it’s not dramatic, just wet. It’s sleeting at the moment and stronger winds are forecast for Tuesday. I’m hoping to finally draw some dramatic seas but sleet is forecast as well and I’m not sure how well my drawing book will stand up. My extra strength thermal leggings and vests are excellent though.

 

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