On one of my afternoon dog walks last month, we walked along the Forestry Commission path at Loch Coillie-Bharr (pronounced: Coyee Var). Past the abandoned township of Kilmory Oib, and to the ruined mill and back. It was one of those, half dry half wet walks, so familiar here, where you start off in the dry but come home wet.
On the way back with my jacket hood up I mostly looked at the path. The hood is too big on my bright yellow fisherman’s ‘oilskin’ and I have to tip my head back to be able to see.
I knew where I was going, and I was quite happy walking along looking at the raindrops splashing in puddles and running in rivulets between the stones. There was a lot of leaf litter lying on the path. Incongruous in summer to see the lanes strewn with green leaves, it was just after storm Hector and we had been fairly bashed about by winds and buffeted by rainy squalls. As we got closer to the carpark the trees change to forestry pines, tall slender firs, they are better at hanging onto their sharp green needle leaves.
The winds had blown through spring cleaning the branches of dead needles, the pathway was strewn with thousands, hundreds of thousands of needles, in shades of browns. They had gathered along the routes of the rainwater like a ladder, swirled into gullies, fringing the edges of pools. They reminded me of stitches, lots and lots of hand embroidered stitches. A bit longer than a seed stitch, but just as haphazard where they had stuck to the wet stones but appearing to have purpose where they had been caught up by the torrents.
They remind me strongly of the work by textile artist Marna Lunt, one of my textile art heroes. All of her work is done by hand, stitch upon stitch upon stitch. Each one precisely placed but with so many they can seem haphazard. Marna’s layering of coloured thread to shade, to sculpt, to define, is second to none and is something I aspire to, but I know I don't have the patience for.
And then we're back at the car again, biscuit bribes guarantee good, if expectant, behaviour and jumping into the boot of the car, then it’s a short drive home to dry us all off & a large mug of tea.
Until next time ..