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Time & Tide

I walked along the beach, it was the 7th December. Cold. Sleet showers stung my face. I saw a branch, cast ashore on the tide. It was shapely and elegant, and rocking to and fro with the rhythm of the sea.

 

Branch, 7th December, Sutherland © John MacPherson
Branch, 7th December, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

I walked along the beach again on the 11th January. The same branch was there, cast above the tide line, partly sand-covered and still shapely. The light was glorious. Looking south the squall that had just battered its way through, shedding seahissing hail, faded into distance.

 

Branch, 11th January, Sutherland © John MacPherson
Branch, 11th January, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

But looking north a little while later as I returned from my walk, the sky had darkened as more ‘weather’ hustled down the coast. The last rays of low winter sun picking up a rainbow that had its moment of brilliance before being swallowed.

 

Branch, 11th January, Sutherland © John MacPherson
Branch, 11th January, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

I walked along the beach again, on the 25th of January. ‘My’ branch was still there. Like some old friend it ‘waved’ to me, bobbing back and forwards with the tide. A light flurry of snow drifted down. It was still cold. My hands were frozen in the stiff northerly breeze, nowt between me and the Arctic but sea.

But I was smiling. Smiling that this one branch was still here. Still bobbing to and fro, saluting the sea that had cast it here.

 

Branch, 25th January, Sutherland © John MacPherson
Branch, 25th January, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

I walked along the beach again. On the 1st February. My branch was gone.

But I heard a noise, and looked up and saw some geese. They reminded me of my branch, their shape was similar. And they reminded me that everything goes, returns, goes, returns.

 

Beach, 1st February, Sutherland © John MacPherson
Beach, 1st February, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

Maybe next year my branch will come back too. Like the geese.

And me.

 

6 responses to “Time & Tide”

  1. Michael Carrithers says:

    Buddhism on a Scottish beach. Thank you.

    • John MacPherson says:

      Thank Michael. Trees are time. This one had had its moment. But tide, and time and chance of me passing let it have another. Maybe it ended up in someone’s fire. That’s a thought, someone warming themselves with it. Who knows!

  2. Hernan Zenteno says:

    Ramificaciones de una rama 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    This reminded me of Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans At Coole: http://www.bartleby.com/148/1.html But less melancholy! 🙂

    • John MacPherson says:

      Thanks Sarah – had not seen the Yeats poem, I can see what you mean. I guess we all (humans) respond to the same cues. Ah, no melancholy for me, it was all upbeat and made me smile!

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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.

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