The season of the Muse
The colours of Skye
The mountain wall of Blaven and Clach Glas, Isle of Skye

Summer often seems like the season of business. Strong light washing out colours, strong growth, stiflng crowds, crowded roads. Long days, short nights of hibernating stars that sleep behind noctilucent clouds roaming the northern summer skies. The upside of summer is lying on the hillside in the bivvy bag, the warmth of the air turning the landscape into a well loved room to lounge in, the last of the day’s heat radiating from the glowing gabbro high in the Black Cuillin as the ravens call and the sun dips towards the blushing horizon, kissing the summits before her short sojourn behind the peaks and her rise into the clear morning air. To lie out in the hills in summer is to live like a rock, for a night or two, to glimpse, ever so fleetingly, eternity.

Summer doesn’t feel like a creative season. There are too many people, too many happenings, the madness heat brings, the traffic queues, the arguments over photography sites as tour bus after tour bus arrive from the east, disgorging their cargoes of seekers of likes and shares. The noise of infrastructure being improved to cope with the social media influxers.

The other morning, the light lay thick on the landscape, a batik greyscape of depth and mystery surmounted with a black, angry sky sending spits and streaks of rain running down the window. The soft patter and cool-edged wind from the north west told me one thing. The Muse was arriving. Before I knew it I had my camera trained on the mountain on the horizon. The Muse had stirred and there were stories forming in the landscape.

Autumn is the season of change. The emptying of the landscape as people go back to the cities, leaving the mountains for the myths and legends to return to. There’s an expectation in the air, of tidying up loose ends, losing leaves before the gales arrive, hurrying across roads to hibernate. The trees rattle and shake with dying leaves rather than the shoosh and sway of summer light-dance. Dor beetles appear in increasing numbers, clambering over tiny tarmac sastrugi on narrow, quiet roads. I stop to right the ones flipped upside down on the edge of the long grass, help those stranded, stuck in fallen leaf-bowls, tumbling back down the smooth brown walls. There are so many stories visible at this time of year. Stories for the camera to record. Stories to write about. Stories to compose poems for. Autumn is the creative season. The season of the Muse.