Shetland’s skin is a green tarpaulin hammered by the sun, scoured by the wind, and measured in sheep and stones and fence posts. The west mainland is a beguiling array of coastline notched with tongues of sky-blue water. There are coarse beaches studded with green, brown, and blue chunks of seaglass gone round and frosted from untold years tumbling in the surf. I pick up the sandy baubles and tuck them into my flanel’s shirt pocket, another small act that reminds me of distant loved ones. My guy ropes have come undone. I think Shetland must be the last place in the world to say goodbye to the sun.
The wind and sea are deafening, but there is so little noise in Shetland. I feel like a candle flame in a cavern. All I can see is beauty, but my light is not strong enough for me to see it all. Metaphors bob to the surface of my consciousness. A solitary brown crayon in a box of green ones. A flapping, plastic bag pierced on the branch of an ancient wood. It is impossible not to look inward and see the faults. But I would be blind not to see the similarities.