If you turn the sky sideways so that it flows downhill to the loch you get spaces.
Places where each facet of the life around is fitted and gyres around its own existence. Drawing taught me the uses of space and the magic in theatre perspectives. The life you see that interrupts space.
The smallest come closest in this marketplace of events. The winter finch, tit, sparrow and blackbird with sun corona eye, create and panic fuss around the feeders of fat and seed hanging from low pine garden branches.
Great, marsh and blue tit, a troubling of green and goldfinch, chaffinch in flocked numbers. Dickie dunnock, house and hedge sparrow. Small forever busy lives that flit and chance tattered pecked morsels. Survival of the quickest and the fastest heartbeat.
The Robin fighting all away. Others many times his size. A small, bright, always moving, orange and brown blush of belligerence. He has to be everywhere otherwise these minor beachheads become gained territory. He misses his chances. He prevaricates, attacks and naively complains but apparently finds no time to relax his self secure guard and feed.
The blue black arrow head of a Jack Merlin flashes murder and quick pointed death amongst these avian crowds.
The Musket Sparrow hawk headlongs parallel with the edge of hedge and fence. Quick eyed and sudden bloody oblivion in a burst of feathers and a panic of the small winged and helpless.
Blue white eyed, grey headed Jackdaw and parchment face Rook gatecrash to fight and steal. Producing in the mind of the viewer an ominous blue black anarchy. What the ancients called omen to be forever feared.
A further clamour of rook pick gravel for crop and ease of digestion from the small lane that runs parallel with the loch flowing burn. They use the minature black and white sheep in the field alongside as beaters for picks of invertebrate game. A noted parliament.
This ancient breed of sheep find opportune gaps in deer fencing to invade the somnambulant marsh at the bottom of the slope. Nonsense explorers and stupid faced food fanatics, tail shit flicking and scared; running from marsh grass to salt lick positioned so firmly and precisely under the pines growing on an ancient grave cist.
Dove grey greens of moss hang celebratory from each weighted bough. Season coloured foliage on a light changing winter day.
A ghost quarters the marsh on forever silent wing caught in a strobing sun. Its cousin tawny sits moon faced searching, in a small alder alone amongst the dead reed and flood bent brown grass. A place of slow beating hearts.
Move back in layered atmosphere towards the further perspectives of staged spaces. A pair of cormorant pass over black silhouetted against grey and on cue.
A plump of Mallard become in sudden silver splashes, a paddling, intent apparently in bisecting the brown green white loch with dark terse lines. More splash awkward and form a floating, chattering, wack, wack, watery raft.
Cob and Pen galleon between this busy gossip, arrogant and with cause. Reeds are blown together dancing, flirting with a gusting musical wind. An oblivious buzzard soars over high on its long found thermal. Spiralling heavenwards towards the distant dot of a mate.
A white tail flicking impatient Moorhen purloins fallen finch food.
A Roe hind peeks from a middle distance willow. It surveys and steps strategically en pointe through the marsh appearing and disappearing. A heron is disdainfully reflected in the still and complex water.
Events happening in atmospheric distance lack the obvious as caution and being unseen becomes more important. Distances, even small one’s move back in time. Vision becomes larger but with less detail. Phantom life.
Then the brushed movements of the unseen.
The wisps of a phantasm skim the surface of the loch moving fast against the wind. A modified air that brings suspicion, waves through a suddenly darkened waterscape. A reason for the beating of disturbed wings and muted frightened calls in the overwhelming approach of obscurity. Tones flatten and fear flows upstage.
Elements collide across the darkling forest and far mountains as grey rain closes a final act on air, spaces, water and all the hiding places of life.
As the pale band advances across a disturbed loch; seeing slowly pearls into after thoughts and dusky musings. Soft parallel emotions and the final wonders of comprehension.
By Ken Simm
(The title is taken from W. H. Murray, Scottish Mountaineer and Poet)