One of the things that strikes me most here on Rum is the difference in light. There are dramatic landscapes and acres of sky, stunning sunrises and sunsets, beautiful beaches and sea views. The stars seem closer here than anywhere else I have ever been, the colours of nature are so varied and breathtaking and the changing face of the river from gushing angry torrent to trickling musical meander never cease to have me stopping and standing in awe (after all, what is this life if full of care we have no time to stop and stare…) But it is the light that most pulls me up time and again and has us commenting so frequently. Murky cloudy low levels are mostly what we’re having at the moment but today the sun shone, and lit up the hills, tonight the moon is hanging low in the sky so that even though it is not yet midnight it is as bright as dawn were creeping up already outside.
On Rum there are no streetlights, no light pollution so unless the moon is as bright as this evening once darkness has fallen at about 5pm torches are an essential piece of kit for outdoors walking. Jinty told me yesterday that she can pretty much identify islanders by their torch light – speed, height, pattern of up and down-li-ness. Funnily enough a comment from fellow small islander over on Eigg that has stayed with me was how he could tell if someone was from Eigg or not just by their distant silhouette and gait of walking. We watch from the windows these days as people walk along the nature trail and can deduce ‘islander’ or ‘tourist’ on the same basis even if we are not immediately sure who it is. We have wind up torches and head torches and both are essential bits of island life kit.
Indoors with our off grid lifestyle we have limited electric light as it quickly drains our leisure batteries so we tend to use candles and tea lights. There is a cosy charm to both, particularly now accompanied by the crackling of logs burning. It means reading or crafting is out of an evening though. which would be my preferred activities but it does mean I blog more frequently as I don’t need light for using the netbook!
My favourite light just now is the glow of the woodburner when I open it to put another stick on though. I’ve been outside gathering fire wood each day and yesterday looked up across to the mainland and saw a hefty covering of snow on the peaks – the hills of Knoydart and the Nevis range beyond. Somehow they loom so much larger and look so much nearer with snow capped peaks clearly defining them than when they are lost in the merge between clouds and sky.