The dragon, Dair, and the woman, Leyva, are twin flames.
This is the most forceful and dynamic soul connection. It can be a tumultuous relationship, full of pulls and pushes, challenge and healing, shadows and light.
Each is a mirror to the other. Each is the other’s half. The dragon reveals Leyva’s most profound fear of being alone, and through their relationship, it unfolds that her deepest wounds from the past haven’t yet healed. She draws closer to him, as if he is familiar, as if they met before. Leyva shows Dair his insecurities and the parts of himself that he doesn’t like. His anger, his anxieties, his over thinking and suspicion of folk.
They start to feel each other’s emotions, and through each other, they grow. Each of them have to do work on their own around acceptance and self love.
My creativity has wavered throughout Lockdown. At times, I have felt unable to write or draw. This has usually been in times of emotional upheaval or lockdown fatigue. I needed to concentrate on self care and rest.
I did try to write small amounts in a journal. Another thing that has helped with this difficulty has been my membership of a local community Art group. The support and encouragement from the group has been incredible.
The Creative Director and other leading members of the group set us a challenge of creating a piece of work in any medium in response to Scottish words. We were given a new word as a daily prompt throughout February.
My favourite words (as an adopted Scot, living in Scotland for the last 26 years) were: tattie-bogle or scarecrow, and glisk which means a glimpse of light.
It was a bitingly cold but beautiful day. The kind where a thousand silent, white stars gasped at night, heralding the first blush-pink sunshine.
Oisin stepped outside of his hut. His feet crunched in the crisp snow as he made his way deeper into the forest. He always found peace here, away from the village gossips. All that muttering with mouths like knots. He couldn’t stand it!
Soon, he was deep amongst the pine trees where the sun rarely shines. Suddenly he heard a cry of distress. Ahead, he could make out the shape of a hare, curled up in a shallow nest. Its back leg was bleeding. ‘Poor creature’, he thought.
The hare blinked, allowing him to cradle her hind leg in his own calloused hand. She had been wounded by an arrow. He shook his head, hating that the contemptuous, red-faced men of the village hunted for sport.
He tried to calm his mind, so that he could recall his Mother’s words about the healing properties of the land. Remembering that he had just passed a silver birch tree, he quickly climbed back up the bank. There she was, ermine -white and still. He collected some of the lichened moss that had fallen at her feet, then touched her bark in thanks.
He hurried back to the hare who had fallen gravely quiet. He gently wrapped the poultice around her leg and murmured a healing chant that his Mother had taught him. The wind whispered back. The hare’s gaze softened, and he found more twigs and dry leaves to shelter her. He decided to return again at night to check on her.
Back home, the hut felt colder than the forest, despite the heat of the fire. Heart sore and unable to rest, he watched the flames and thought that he saw Aoife’s face, dark and full of shadows. He had met her back when the sun was high in the sky, and he had loved the curve of her impervious smile. But, she had ended their relationship with words that rained down on him like knives.
That night, he made his way back to the clearing. Anxiously he searched around, but he couldn’t find the hare. He looked up at the moon, draping her silvery gown all over the forest.
Suddenly, he saw her, standing on her hind legs. Then, before his startled eyes, he saw her shift shape, as quickly as shadows pass us by. He stared in wonder as an enchanting woman stood before him, dressed in pale blue robes.
He thought that he was dreaming, as she stepped forward. This must be the White Art that his Mother often spoke of.
“Oisin, may the stars bless you. You know the loneliness of the night, and yet you helped me. I bring a new beginning for you”.
She held out a small vial of green liquid. “Drink this and your heart will be mended”.
He swallowed the potion, hearing his Mother’s voice encouraging him. When he looked up, she had vanished. He returned to his hut and slept soundly, untroubled by ghosts.
When he woke, he felt lighter and Aoife was but a flicker in his heart.
This second time round is hard. A lot of people are running on empty. The line of our lives pre Covid has started to blur, like the flickering end of an old movie. Loss has made us feel tired, frustrated and sad. But, we’ve all shown compassion for each other. Love for each other can be difficult sometimes , but it’s our deepest motivation. Caring for each other is doing.
Keeping the faith hasn’t always been easy during the upheaval and devastation of the pandemic, when sometimes hope has seemed pointless.
One thing that has been soothing for sure, however, has been Nature. It’s got a universal energy that runs through all of us. It’s bigger than me and you. It’s a place to rest. Nothing’s been simple about lockdown, but Nature has been calming. Unchanged, changing. It’s been so life affirming to breathe in deep lungs full of still, fresh air in a forest. Or be around water, when it’s rushing, vibrating and pushing life forward. Even if it’s a difficult day, it’s still a brand new one and a step forward.
Being around trees has been relaxing, especially the older ones with roots that stretch beneath us, steadying us. And branches that stretch endlessly up to a sky that we all share. Seeing new, unstoppable shoots pressing up through the ground already has delivered hope in green and white. Growing slowly and steadily, bringing Spring and lighter days.
Stepping out into the universe has been energising. Feet on the ground and making contact with the Earth has brought focus and lots of special memories. We’re leaving our footprints in this disturbing, turbulent period of history, but we haven’t been alone.
This year, Winter Solstice fell on the same day as a powerful, highly anticipated astrological conjunction. The solar system’s two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, aligned in the sign of Aquarius, appearing close together in the sky. This rare event only happens every twenty years. It heralds a new age of change. Aquarius is an air sign, and is said to bring an era of creativity, inspiration and new ways of thinking. A time to embrace spontaneity, think outside the box and be innovative.
In November 2020, residents of Lockerbie and the surrounding communities had the opportunity to do just that!
If you missed the safari – or you visited and would like a chance to see it again – keep reading for photos as well as special insights into the poems …
Please Note: Photographs of individuals are copyright of the photographed individual. Photographs of the nature reserve and poems are copyright Kerrie McKinnel 2020. Words are copyright of Kerrie McKinnel 2020, except quotations and feedback which are copyright of the individual contributors. All rights reserved.
About the Project
To celebrate Book Week Scotland (BWS), Lockerbie Writers group teamed up with A Novel Approach writing group and local poet Eryl Gasper-Dick to produce nine new poems.
Welcome to Lockerbie Wildlife Trust Eskrigg Nature Reserve!
Book Week Scotland takes place every November, and is coordinated by…