a t  T A R S K A V A I G

                                'what I like more than anything 
                                        is to visit other islands'

                                        (George Oppen, Ballad)

As people gather inside, I wait outside on the top of the hill. I can see most of Tarskavaig, the sun setting gently into the Atlantic. From inside the hall, voices mingle below the drone of a cello as the band warm up for the night. The shadows slide over the fields towards the sea, their movement connected to, driven by, the long swoons of cellosong.

A few others stand around, taking in the last few minutes before the ceilidh. One man, apparently speaking neither to himself nor to anyone else, remarks how "watery" the sea looks tonight. I ask what that means. He explains, "It's very water-coloured. Not a pure sea."

With the music and the light his words take on an oracular tinge. I ask if he can point out Uist, where I'll be heading next. He raises his finger to the horizon, says, "Over there, where there’s nothing – that’s Uist."

('Lament for Cello', Tarskavaig, 2011)

('Dubinushka', Justin Bateman & co., Tarskavaig,  2011)