Chant du monde boréal
Sandshifter, 60N.
Where it all makes sense.



Through Chronicles from Arcania, I shall attempt to share walks with you, this poetics from 60N, where I feel at one with our Earth, my sense of place so maritime.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

world mapper

in between storms

I never know what to expect from February. I spend most days mapping the world through blotched windows... Sometimes the pane bends to the gale, as double-glazed world will not yield - sometimes it's still trying to snow.

My pocket shock/water/dust/freeze proof camera records images from the island through a myriad of raindrops or just salt glued to the glass pane, as I come and go along the A970 every morning and afternoon.

Some mornings look so promising. The island bathes in a blue that may feel cold.... The coldest month of the year on this 60th Parallel unveils islands from our near shore with rage and grace. And as I rove towards middle of afternoon, Father Sky may not match my desire and sometimes offers a spectacle of eerie tones across the sky and shadow land. 

Either way, I'm left to imagine the very edge of my boreal waterworld. 

I love narrow land points. Quarff is one of them. This settlement located on an isthmus reminds me how close we can flirt with both Atlantic and North Sea. Only a spoonful of kilometers separates my eyes from their shores... It is said that the Viking world made excellent use of an isthmus in order to avoid circumnavigation. The boys were practical.

At the moment, Quarff offers storm colours. Spindrift flies so high, salt invades gardens and windows... Starlings, Jenny Wrens and Robins need to shelter inside the greyness of stone walls to avoid to be cured alive or end up on alien land. Last week alone, the island broke gusts' records with speed reaching up to 104 mph (167 km/h). Ruffling thought! That's when roof tiles begin to dance and and floorboards whistle like kettles.  

Feeling the edge

Closer to home lies a massive tongue of land. Today, my world tumbled in this gigantic washing machine on my way to Lerwick. South Easterlies were still steering massive rollers towards the shore and da shoormal was clad in lace. Our lifeline with Scottish mainland remained moored for at least three days. Fresh fruit and veg become treasures and we make-do with what we have. We hide our fears in tussock grass and trust embers from the fire.
To stand along its raging edge re-instates you within the vastness of the world and reminds you how elements determine contours in your life. 

chart of the universe
I quite like the comfort of my bus, where I imagine a chart of the entire universe as I look up at my window. A flood may slide against the pane, I see galaxies through raindrops. I share the dreams & pounding heart of the cartographer, as I walk the shore against all odds. As weeks vanish at speed of gales, we are nearing to equinox.
Cycles of seasons as we rotate around a star,
....Copernicus was a genius!


  1. I enjoyed this wet and wild tour! Great word images as well as the multi-proof camera shots.

    Do you remember you once promised me a Shetlandic poem?

  2. Many thanks, Gordon :-)
    Oh, yes! I do remember that and I shall dish one out for you as soon as I can!!!
    Thanking you for the gentle reminder :-))