The balance of nature

Winter light, Loch Pityoulish © John MacPherson



I’ve noticed there’s a lot of it in nature.

Like this scene. Cloud hole with sun. Ice hole with rock.

Of course there’s a rational explanation for this.

The ice is white: light and heat from the sun reflects off it. And it stays cool. That’s its nature.

But the rock is dark: dark absorbs heat, and gets warmer. Warmth melts ice. Creates a hole.

That’s the science.

But I’m not a scientist, and so after I explained this theory to my little boy William (aged 4), I told him what the storyteller would say to explain this scene…..

….that despite its hard heart, the rock took pity on the ice for being so cold and tried to share the sun with it. In the only way it knew. But that sometimes, just sometimes, being kind can hurt.

William liked that explanation.

  • Ed

    Well, I wish I could story-tell science like that!

    • Thanks Ed! My partner is a scientist, she tut-tuts when I go off on one of these yarns!

John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog's hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

More articles from John Macpherson