As the north Atlantic gales descend upon the Orkney Islands, the hungry sea imbues their forms with watery caprice. A black dog bounds toward me along the lip of the grassy overhang, a clear signal that mere moments separate us from that distant, wet erasure. So I snap a portrait of the Orkney that filters into my mind on rainy days at home, where the grass flaps in the wind and the sea takes great, dragging bites from the land. Plumes of saltwater shatter against the extruded bones of the island; granule by grain, the tide feeds its appetite.
Such beautiful violence. And yet I can’t shake the image of a rottweiler killing a fawn by the river in Dunkeld, can’t help but see it, again, here in this portrait. I stand at a distance watching one thing kill another, powerless. Water separates us. But when has one shed tears over erosion? This predation will happen with or without me, and the thought provides me with a measure of calm. The dog disappears down the rocky beach, but I can see the strand between this portrait and that mewling fawn. Maybe that ghost has finally eased its chokehold.