Picture This: Squall Over Orkney

by Keith Savage · 6 comments


Blocks of basalt and red sandstone shift beneath my tentative steps, call out in hollow clacks and stony clattering to the levitating gulls overhead. Every day the salty North Sea swallows this stretch of beach on the edge of Orkney’s mainland. When the tide goes out, there are new stones and missing ones. I see chipped bones, the insides of a planetary gullet, jewels. The ruins in the distance grow dark beneath trailing veils of rain from the Orcadian squall that roils the sky in draconic splendor. Feeble light glints off water in the air and gives this lone moment a dreamlike quality. How did I get here?

Orkney jars one off the rails of time. It is a nexus point, a confluence of eras that cuts across what has come before rather than lays them end to end. How different would this vista have looked to the Norse or the Picts or the Neolithic peoples? There is something in its elemental simplicity that screams continuity at me. The squall writhes across the horizon and the sea inches over these ancient, tumbled slabs. The dark will soon follow. Not everything changes. I’m bothered by the comfort that thought brings me.


JanetNo Gravatar March 3, 2013 at 6:48 PM

slick watermark in the corner! almost didn’t notice it. lovely photo as well but i’m geeking out at the dropshadow style you’ve got going with your css. haha. nicely done. πŸ™‚

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar March 3, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Hey Janet! I like to keep the watermark discrete. The dropshadow is just a simple plugin and a snippet of code on the picture.

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KenNo Gravatar February 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Wish I could be there now. Alas, my teleporter is on the fritz. Reading your post is almost like being there, though. A quick trip to Helgis or the Peedee Chippie would be just fine right now.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 28, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Helgi’s was a nice find. Great beers on the waterfront.

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Gayla~No Gravatar February 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

This photo is truly phenomenal, Keith!
It is comforting that not everything changes and intriguing to know that with the movement of the tides those ancient, tumbled slabs are worn down and smoothed out just a bit more, changing the landscape ever so slightly and revealing something new. That’s pretty cool in the grand scheme of things…

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar February 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Cheers, Gayla – appreciate the thoughts.

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