I miss movement and swimming, walking in the forest. Decided yesterday to begin walking again, the weather was dreich today but I walked with a friend after cake and coffee rather than toughing it out on my own. Dreich is a good old Scots word and today being the day after Burns Night feels like the right time for it. Instead of the usual haggis and whisky fest at the neighbours, this year I was back at choir practice singing the Qui Tollis from Mozart's Mass in C Minor, nothing else would have dragged me back, and it seems fitting to slot in with the Qui Tollis. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, receive our prayers. And lift this heavy condition from my muscles. Not being flippant here - well not entirely; though goodness knows Lamb of God has been petitioned before now concerning this and I have not heard back on the subject. The singing, though, was good. As a Burns treat a few choir members got up at the end to sing something - there was Parcel o' Rogues and songs of love and melancholy - how those go together, particularly as we are still in the dreich, dark days with more cold weather on the way. This being so, it is as good to go deep into the melancholy as it is to walk deep into the forest.
I am reading Robin Robertson's latest collection, The Wrecking Light - bleak and wonderful. In an interview he said,
"I grew up with a very strong sense of place, in a landscape that seemed freighted with significance, mystery and power. Everything since has seemed a displacement: a deracination."
I have been thinking about this, and how that place of displacement is so often the place from which the sort of writing that I like best comes; and also the place from which I most often write, when I can.