tiny yellow maple leaf sitting upside down on a large yellow maple leaf in the morning sun

Yellow is an undemanding colour, less emotive than red, yet no less intense. It comes to meet you, levelly, entering you somewhere beneath your turbulent heart. You let it in and sit with it and you find that, wherever you have been, you now have a place to come to. Like a sheltered patch in a city park beneath a sugar maple carpeted with russet and yellow leaves. You don’t gather up handfuls of them, the way you would if they were red, but just sit and watch the shafts of sunlight illuminating them intermittently, softly picking out their curled points and broad palms. This is where you are now. It’s a fine autumn morning in the north and nothing else is required.

Queen’s Park, Glasgow, Scotland
18th October 2016


It feels quiet up here, and protected, as if I am insulated within the inarticulate drone of the plane. Above, the air is blue. Beneath, the mountains fold and the plains stretch themselves out, and across them, the landscape is writing itself.

It begins first as one line, an elegant calligraphed curl scrolling out across the horizontal distance; then proliferates, until there are several lines, breaking and branching from each other, scooping and scrawling in liquid loops of sunlit gold.

They look a little like Arabic forms, like continuing sentences, slowly writhing on; scribed and scribbling, delicate yet definite. The spread plains between them are pocked – punctuated – with still water, like ink spilt and spattered and gathering into myriad tiny pools.

As we fly further north, snow softens the mounds and valleys and the curves unwind, becoming thick and white, and finally coalescing into great lakes, held high on the bronze plates of the sun.

It is quiet up here. No-one is talking since most of the plane’s inhabitants are sleeping. But my eyes are alive with this beautiful unspoken language, this secret script of low sunlit water and wide wind-smoothed snow.

Flying over Siberia
21st October 2014


We never see the sun itself but evidence of it – slanted casts across the brackened red hillsides, bright incandescences behind mists of white cloud, small patches of blue on the western horizon, or a gold-green stripe across the back of the low hills of the north coast, ahead.

When we get there the sun comes out; a rainbow doubles and disappears. The smashing waves are greener in their curl than I’ve ever seen, the beach smoother; the rocks holding it down are the heaviest black. This is the northern limit of our country. Everything begins.

Durness, Sutherland, Scotland
26th November 2013


cold light on cold water
clear stream rushing over our bones



Nant Gelli Wern / Stream of the Alder Grove

Nant Gelli Wern, Cwm Garw, De Cymru / Stream of the Alder Grove, Garw Valley, South Wales
28th October 2013