Holed up in a room in the hostel, John has kindly encouraged me to move from the Shepherds Hut into the building, as we weather a storm. There was a break in the weather yesterday and so after Norrie went home, I rushed down to the beach to make some smaller pieces which has given me something to do today. Too nervous to unwrap the bigger work for fear of the unpredictable direction of water as the wind makes a weather phenomena famous in the West Highlands of Scotland, horizontal rain.
As we walked to the village yesterday, I noticed more island sounds which reminded me of a choral piece I saw on the Isle of Canna this summer. Lucky for me, a friend asked me to join her as her family were unable to, so with an early start, we spent the day exploring the island until in the late afternoon we saw “Away with the Birds” http://www.awaywiththebirds.co.uk, a site specific musical piece based on the bird song heard on the coast. As I heard hail hitting a metal gate, wind whistling through a cattle stall and the thump of the Atlantic breakers, I thought how great it would be to be a musician and just spend all day recording sounds and splicing them together to make a soundscape of the weeks I have been here. At home we have twice been lucky enough to welcome a guest, a composer, David Toop, who does just that. He was so intrigued by the sound of the Singing Sands that he returned with recording equipment to discover the bellow of roaring stages.
The weather has made me feel like a character in one of Norries favourite films. “I know Where I am Going” is about a headstrong woman determined to master the elements to marry a Laird and is based on Mull when a storm blows up as she desperately tries to find someone who will take her on to a smaller island in an open boat. I am glad that my highland experience has led me not only to a highland man but also to respect the weather and to enjoy the cosy feeling of being in my room reading, writing and doing quiet things.