29 Apr Dreaming in colour
Been dreaming a lot lately. Travel does it; different beds in different places. Remembering fragments of dreams. Mostly in bright, pillar-box red. Not sure why. Could just be pillar boxes. So many here at Camus Cross, in south Skye; a short stretch of single-track road studded with post boxes embedded in stone walls. Lifelines. And the traditional red phone box on Muck; a curiosity; a relic; a deep memory. Dreaming in red – maybe symbolic of something. Perhaps best not to know.
Made me think a lot about colour. Spring bursts on the Scottish scene in yellow. Set against dark skies or above white, fitfully recurring frost, gorse and daffodils stamp the landscape. Marks of strident, cheery colour smudge a muted winter palette.
Drove south to Glasgow on Friday. Like a slow-motion nature film spooling through the seasons, creeping from winter to spring. I set out past deciduous trees and shrubs that are bare; boldly in bud but holding back.
90 miles done. A few miles south of Glencoe is Loch Orchy, crystal grey like a sheet of glass placed on top of smooth slate. In its cradle below snow-topped mountains; edged with trees gently bearded – a 5 o’clock shadow of green.
Pressing on, Ardlui to Tarbert, the narrow road winds by the edge of Loch Lomond; wooded banks flutter with fresh new leaves. To the edge of the city daffodils past their best. Too early for the bluebells.
Drove back north again on Saturday; different car, different route, long story. The film rewinds. A journey back in seasonal time. Bright greens recede, sucked back to greys and browns, to blondes of last year’s grasses. Sunshine. Days like this make winter colours sparkle.
And the yellow. Somehow, in all my years of Scottish springs, I don’t remember the daffodils being as profuse as this, as exuberant. Perfect nick, peak condition. A case of good timing? Gorse setting out on long months of yellow blossom; such generosity; such endurance. We call them whins in Scotland. An old name. Insect heaven. Their look of corn on the cob; aroma of coconut, Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion. Yellow banks by roads and lochs; yellow guard of honour on the approach to the Skye Bridge. Back again.