This is still a small series of postings on getting the sea kayaks back on the North Sea - but yesterday was rather special.
At home, in Fife, the air was spring-like, and the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky. Just a few short miles to the north, in the Angus Glens, a taste of something very special awaited - iced Brandy. So before the "ice" melts...
Loch Brandy is that perfect mountain corrie, above Glen Clova, just inside Cairngorms National Park. It tempts us back regularly, changing its face at the whim of the weather. And every single time, its expression changes.
Today, it mirrored icy solitude.
There were no other tracks in the snow and we knew that, on this day, we would be alone on the isolated windswept plateau above the loch.
As heather slept, insulated beneath the carpet of frozen crystals, each of intricate and unique design, surface snow blew into the air towards the distant sea.
It was a glorious day to be alone, together.
It was such a place as this that the ancient Celtic people would describe as a "thin place", where the distance between heaven and earth was virtually nothing at all. It was extraordinary and ineffable beauty.
Truly, this must be the most perfect sphere in the universe.
If we are to rescue our environment, we must come to love it.
But to love it, we must first come to know it.
There are no short cuts.
We must leave our busy agendas and schedules behind, for just awhile...and spend time sipping at its rawness, drinking in all that it will allow, coming face to face with its strength and power, and understanding that as vulnerable as it is, it will outlast us.
Returning lochside, the sun low on the horizon, we could only embrace one another, eyes misting with both emotion and humility at the majesty of what was before us...and the experience it had permitted.
Each of us is here, but once, on this fragile, island planet, whirling through space. It sustains us and makes our existence possible. We must get to know it. In so doing, we will fall deeply in love with it. It is then that we will be compelled to do all that we can to take care of it...and by extension, one another.
Iced Brandy, a spirited "drink"...that does a body, mind, and spirit good.