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  • Writer's pictureSarah McCartney


Updated: Aug 19, 2020

A temporary leave of absence. Have I been gone too long? Will I come back? Life revolves around my new 'family'. I come home to my quiet house to rest. Sometime its good sometimes its not so good. I don't seem to have any room left... for me. But I am growing things and enjoying spring. Bats are out, swallows are swooping across the fields, the sea is slowly warming and the fields above Swanpool smell so sweet. I lie up there at the end of the day if I'm not on an evening shift, gazing up at the blue, drinking the glorious scent of the sweet vernal grass. A child with no worries.

I haven't picked up a sketchbook for weeks. I'm not intensely recording everything and making it somehow fit into my MA but I'm still here and every day there is something. I swam with a seal. She swam beneath us elegant and easy in the water then came up so close to me I could have reached out and kissed her nose. Yellow tag 148. Her name is Tess. Curious, wild, other but the same. Another morning I was surrounded by sandwich terns. One dived right in front of me and came up with a small silver fish. There are moments of grace.

I read when I can. Most recently A Sand Country Almanac by Aldo Leopold. He writes with deep knowledge, love and understanding about his place but it is a land I don't know filled with unfamiliar plants and birds. As I came to the winter months and read about ancient cranes and his love of pine trees I longed for my home. For the wild western coasts that edge into the Atlantic. I picked up The Seabirds Cry by Adam Nicolson. Im reading about fulmars. I swim out to the tiny colony of fulmars that are nesting towards Stack everyday.

On windy days they fly over us.

On calm days they sit on the water and watch us with their Cleopatra eyes

"The seabird's cry comes from the beginning of the world" Adam Nicolson

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