White, Light Highland Night

So it’s my last night with assured wireless access, right here in my room, but I’m too (something) to write.  I’ve been doing, thinking, shooting so much that I can’t encapsulate small chunks of it. Part of this is the phenomenon of the highland nights.  It’s very very far north here, so there are ‘white nights’ in the summers.  From late June to early August, the highlands and northern islands get 19-20 hours of daylight, and it never really gets fully dark.  I’m here for the onset of that.  It gets dark a little after 11pm, very very slowly.  (It’s 10:45 now, and though I just turned on the light to keep typing, the sky is still that just-after-sunset deep blue, with a slight pinkish glow towards the horizon, light enough to clearly see the darker blue clouds there). I’ve been getting up at 7 for the great Scottish breakfasts, and the sun is already high in the sky by then.  This makes for fantastic long evening shadows, gorgeous golden evening light…but it plays tricks on your body clock, and I think mine’s catching up with me today.

In the morning, I go even further north and off the top of Scotland to mainland Orkney.  It’s supposed to be ‘one of the world’s great train journeys’, and then the ferry.  Though I may be a little too late in the spring for it, I am so, so, so hoping to see another atmospheric phenomenon, the aurora borealis, the northern lights…that’s been a lifelong wish.




7 thoughts on “White, Light Highland Night

  1. Whoa. That’s amazing, the shadow image. But white nights! I’d never keep up. I mean, I’d burn hard and then crash hard. So I hope you get some good rest in between!

  2. It sounds like you’re going through some of the same sensory overload I went through when I was at Don’s — there was a stretch of a number of days (pretty much all of ’em, actually) when I’d go to bed at 9 p.m., have amazingly weird dreams, and wake up at 2 a.m., unable to get back to sleep.

    And then go back to the bench at 9 a.m. the next day, printing/building/sewing books and cramming knowledge until my brain screamed, go home, pour wine and food (in that order) into me, and crash out again.

    Over and over and over and over: it’s been two weeks since I’ve been home, and I finally feel like I can move on.

    (That being said, I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything, but two solid weeks of that…. And it changed my life, which I’ll get around to blogging about soon.)

    Our minds tell us what we can absorb (or not), and run screamingly, at some level, into the night, whether we want them to (or not), when we hit the wall.

    Go find yourself a wee pub (the lounge at the Banff Springs Hotel, where they shot some of “Local Hero” springs to mind), and pretend you’re just a local lassie….

    And have a dram or three in my name! 😉

  3. I “heard” from our intrepid traveler this AM via text message and she was waiting for the ferry to Orkney.
    I include the official Orkney web cam for a glimpse of the excitement that’s in store for her. .


  4. Your lips were like a red and ruby chalice, warmer than the summer night
    The clouds were like an alabaster palace rising to a snowy height.
    Each star its own aurora borealis, suddenly you held me tight
    I could see the Midnight Sun.

    I can’t explain the silver rain that found me–or was that a moonlit veil?
    The music of the universe around me, or was that a nightingale?
    And then your arms miraculously found me,suddenly the sky turned pale,
    I could see the Midnight Sun.

    Was there such a night, it’s a thrill I still don’t quite believe,
    But after you were gone, there was still some stardust on my sleeve.

    The flame of it may dwindle to an ember, and the stars forget to shine,
    And we may see the meadow in December, icy white and crystalline,
    But oh my darling always I’ll remember when your lips were close to mine,
    And we saw the Midnight Sun.

    Ella Fitzgerald, Midnight Sun

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