Harris, in the Outer hebrides.
My favourite place in the world.
I went for just four days, determined to do very little other than walk, write and take some photos.
I was thinking all the while about ways to do very little, or as I thought of it 'practically nothing'.
I found a few ways.
Collecting shells on the beach was my first.
On Scarista beach I collected sea urchin fragments. They reminded me of Paul Kenny's work, 'Heaven or Las Vegas', Ross strand, Mayo, 2008, shown below.
Why so rectangular, when a sea urchin is round, I kept thinking.
My fragments were less varied in colour.
|homage to Paul Kenny, 2019|
I photographed them on my notebook and then dissembled the arrangement, not wanting to copy Paul's work.
I found a number of sheep with lambs to talk to.
|lamb and ewe, Harris 2019|
My favourite was this brown one.
We had a good chat, eye to eye.
I said more than she did.
I revisited all of my favourite beaches.
I had forgotten how white the sand is, and how clear the water.
Such a sense of space and freedom.
|Luskentyre, Harris 2019|
And when I had tired of walking on sand, I decided to explore the old coffin road that crosses the island from west to east.
|Coffin Road, Harris|
By this time I was so good at doing practically nothing that I started to play a little.
I searched for circles of lichen on rocks, but the rocks were mostly unappealing.
Still trying to do nothing in particular I waited for three o'clock.
I walked on, and was soon drawn to some curling grasses by the roadside.
I pulled some and held it, trying to photograph the curling blades with the road ahead.
Then I threw some into the air to catch the wind.
I tried to throw and capture it on my camera; not easy with one hand.
I failed over and over.
But the very act of throwing gave more pleasure than I care to admit.
Finally I managed, just once, to catch a tendril before it fell.
|throwing grass, Harris , 2019|
Somehow this one photograph captures everything that I was feeling.... a sense of freedom and lightness.
It is my favourite image from the trip.
Later I wrote some words to accompany it.
First I tried typing a note on my typewriter. There is no option to change and edit as one writes with a typewriter, so the first draft is quite spontaneous.
Later I revisited these thoughts and tried some different words in my notebook, writing and re-writing, playing with verbs.
I call them 'Letting Go'.
Finding ways to do nothing was a good way to spend a few days.
I won't leave it so long before I go back next time.