Those of you with good memories and who used to read the blog when we lived in treeless-looking-onto-the-Atlantic Ness may remember a post from way back showing photos of my early morning walk. The post can be seen here, but I'll post a photo from that post - just one - to give you some idea of the contrast between the beauty that surrounded me then and the beauty that surrounds me now.
What do you see? Well, there's a whole lot of sky; a whole lot of flat land; and not a tree in sight.
But that was then, and this is now:
See how different my surrounding countryside is! Amazingly fertile farmland in the distance, some very green grass on which cows were grazing last week, and trees.
If you join me on my walk, you'll see there are lots and lots of trees.
Here I am heading down the hillside, and facing East. To a great extent, the direction matters not, because the sky is hidden by trees. The surrounding countryside is hidden by trees.
Have I mentioned trees? Yes, I've now walked East, North, and am now heading West. As I said ... the direction matters little: we have trees.
But just as I begin to think there is nothing left in the world but trees. Just as I begin to feel I need to breathe, I get a glimpse of the stunningly open farmland beyond the forest.
And I feel like I can breathe. And I am aware of a spontaneous smile on my face.
And sky! Blue, open, spacious, wide sky.
I could almost dance!
I look behind me at the trees,
and look again to the north-west. I savour every open mile to which my eyes can stretch. I drink it in because I know that very soon,
instead of open spaces, instead of farmed fields, and hints of distant mountains ...
instead of the glorious patchwork of growth, of planting, and of harvest ...
I will soon be walking under an umbrella of trees.
The sun is hidden, the views have gone,
and all I have is greenery and shadows.
If anything shows how much of a Niseach I am at heart, it's my reaction to all the trees that surround us here. Now, don't get me wrong - I love trees ... when they're at a distance. But I can't get my head around why people choose to live in houses surrounded by beautiful countryside which is hidden from view by trees!
I'm quite sure when the good ol' folks planted all these trees long, long ago, they did not mean for us all to spend our lives hidden away, out of sight of the beauty. I'm sure they'd tell us, if they could, to cut them down. Loads of them ... just chop them down, folks!
You see, I'm from Lewis - specifically from Ness, and we don't really do trees there. We like to look out our windows and see. Far.
Remember when I used to look out our windows and see the crofts, the machair, and then the Atlantic all the way to the horizon. I was used to space.
And much as I love - and I really do love - the scenery around here, I have decided that if and when we end up building a home out here, my first criteria will be that our plot is not surrounded by trees.
And just before we leave this post, and head back to our daily work, just one more glimpse at another scene I captured on that morning walk all that time ago:
How's that for eye-candy, eh?