So the idea was to write a pre-holiday blog, talking about the delights awaiting me on Skye, where I was planning to do some essential research for the book, not having visited the island in six years. Then to follow this up with a number of blogs – perhaps every two or three days, during my two-week stay – writing about my adventures and the beauty of the island, with maybe a photograph or two (if I could get the camera to work).
Well, that was the plan. But I found myself so caught up in the energy of the place and the awesomeness of being there – finally – that all the usual home-bound desires and disciplines were somehow rendered irrelevant. (And I couldn’t get the camera to work.)
The remoteness of the village where I was staying, dominated by one of the biggest, and most dramatic, mountains on the island, seems to change your priorities when you’re not looking, and suddenly you find yourself living a different, more powerful and connected way of life – doing less and being more.
This is the village where my detective lives. One of the first walks my dog and I did was a stroll down the road to the plot of land where I’ve placed her lovely home, designed by her gentle and creative partner for them both, as a dream start to a new life … and I understood in a new and deeper way, the dilemma she struggles with daily, between her love of the work she excels at and her passion for the secluded life she’s chosen.
I found myself torn – as ever – between the exquisite quality of being present on the island and the fabulous opportunities I have created where I currently live.
I woke every day to the sight of Bla Bheinn (pronounced Blah Venn, approximately) towering above me, mostly dressed in snow while I was there, just a different quantity each morning. The mountain forms the lynch-pin of my novel. At the centrepoint of the writing, an unexpected drama unfolds on its heights, calling key characters to re-evaluate who they are, enabling essential clues to fall in line, changing people’s destinies.
It is an immense presence – or rather, he is. For that is how I experience Bla Bheinn. A strongly masculine energy who will challenge and confront you, willl force you to match your principles with dynamic action and who will provide you with answers if you have the courage to ask.
I have faced death here on two occasions; both times Bla Bheinn answered my call and showed me the way to climb to safety, but only – I believe – because I respected his ‘otherness’ and trusted him to hold me within the experience. To live in his presence, day after day, is demanding as well as glorious, and my host shared that he thought the energy of the mountain drives some people mad.
The island presents multiple opportunities to be real. The wildness and beauty of the scenery, with its overly-dramatic skylines, its spectacular weather and its constantly-changing views, demand a quality of response that instantly makes one understand how to be more deeply alive.
I saw rainbows nearly every day while I was there: huge, arching, magnificently-plunging, brightly-coloured curves of light, appearing unexpectedly against heavy, swirling, dark grey clouds, or springing from the ground in a surprising shower of misty rain, taking their turn between hurtling downpours of hail and snow, or matching the golden beams of sunlight scorching the water’s surface out towards the open sea.
And to cap it all, the biggest Supermoon since 1948, rising steadily in the night-sky, dancing between a myriad of bright stars, to sit in serene majesty over Bla Bheinn‘s heart-shaped peaks, pouring her reflected light down the mountain’s ancient and complex slopes from where it tumbled gracefully over the loch and into the croft where I was staying.
This was the moment I chose to make the next step in publishing my book, a reality. I opened my CreateSpace account, sitting under those two connected and opposite energies, and began the launch of ‘The White And Silver Shore‘.