It feels like one of the old days of freedom. The tide is high, the loch is wide, rippled and blue, with fat flecks of foam drifting slowly, unrestricted, across its surface. They’re being driven outward by the freshwater currents of the two rivers which run into this loch and by the cool easterly breeze but they look as if they’re being driven by the sun, which rides already high in the east-south-east behind them, backlighting them and seeming to propel them towards me.

It’s the first time we’ve seen the sun in days and, as the foam slides by, it continues its steady rise, presiding over the clear blue waters and skies with confident assurance. And its easy assertion, its potent presence reminds me, in good order, that we are only truly ruled by this sun: by its presence and absence, its warmth and light, and by the dynamic streams of air and water it generates across the Earth – our rotating, fecund Earth, which nourishes us in turn. This is where our allegiances belong: to our star, to our planet, and to our right to roam it, as we long to and as we must.

Lochinver harbour, Assynt, Scotland
1st April 2021