Beguiled by barnacle geese

from my Caerlaverock sketchbook

Out on my wanderings today around Caerlaverock, I was much more aware of the big sky down here than I have been so far.
That is a surprise to me since “sky” is what I thought this project was really about after all.

Birds are important, but I thought that was so much to do with their necessary relationship with that big sky.

Of course it’s all to do with the geese effect and in particular barnacle geese.
After all I am here at this time of year especially, to witness at least a tiny part of their overwintering.

They are so present, so distinctive in their gorgeous monochrome plumage and their yelping cries.
When they are flying, I must look up.
It is mesmerising.

I am beguiled by their return each year from breeding grounds in Svalbard.
2716 kilometres they fly.
I love that continuity and constancy.
And that’s the bit that resonates so much.

I have returned to this place too, though I’ve not travelled so far in distance.
But I was only five years old when we left here.

Today I felt that sturdy, curly haired wee girl’s presence standing looking up at the big sky.


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