Some Gairloch sunsets, all looking across the loch to the Trotternish ridge of Skye

Seeing Skye

The island is never the same island.

On its best days Skye flaunts itself, reveals all,

baring its basalt from Kilt Rock to the grey cliffs

of Suiramach, white dots marking the houses.

Fragile clarity: too soon, only a shape remains.

Yesterday Skye was inexplicably absent, leaving

not even an island-shaped gap. Perhaps

on an island-hop to visit neighbour Hebrides, or

Trotternishing off to America — who knows?

Today the sky fell on Skye, a grey leveller,

crushing its contours, stamping on the Storr's

ambition, beheading high Beinn Edra, quashing

the Quiraing into a Flodigarry flatness.

Often Skye sky-larks, self-indulgently decking itself

with cosmetic sunbeams carefully arranged, or

nestling comfortably in an eiderdown fog, or

transforming to a row of cloud-puffing volcanoes.

Never the same island. But always the same island

behind the chaotic whimsies of the sky: just as

humanity's unquiet weather limits our vision,

distorts the view of each from his own misty isle.

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