The child of a grey coal town in Calvinist Scotland, I was hungry for imagery, wild about colour and, even though I accepted that I would never live there, desperate for proof of some other world.
The work of a great artist often appears so fluent, so graceful, that we assume it must have come easily – but nothing in art is worth much if it is not hard won.
The Nature Column by John Burnside.
Staring into this powerful bird’s beady eye – its extraordinary face more African mask than that of a bird – I felt connected for a moment to something old and original.
The forest was where a traveller could become lost for ever and lose his rational bearings, as in the Arthurian tale of the Forest of Beguilement, a place, as Spenser puts it, full of “wayes unknowne”.
Autumn is also the season not of perfumes, or even scents, but of one complex, yet oddly single smell.
The museum’s wet collection is the museum’s most memorable feature. It contains “around one million zoological objects in 276,000 vials, preserved in 81,880 litres of ethanol”.
After a rather shaky start, the old Tempelhof Airport has come to be considered one of Berlin’s greatest success stories; it is certainly an inspiring example of direct democracy in action.
A new threat looms over northern Scotland as Scottish & Southern Electricity seeks to erect a further 47 wind turbines at Strathy South. This will directly imperil golden eagles, hen harriers and the rare wood sandpiper – estimated to number no more than a few breeding pairs in all of Britain.
For generations, people on the periphery have watched their ways of life – often informed by deep wisdom and ancient traditions – being sacrificed for “resources” for those in central nations.
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