Hello...

Hello.
I knew at the beginning of the year that I wanted to let go of the blog. I am in a different place now and I need the space to work through a great many things. I intend to keep the archives up for a time, although I have removed the comment function.
If you have landed here - welcome and feel free to dip in to what was our life - once upon a time...
J xxx

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer Sheiling


Around Beltane, back in the day, the  older women and children of the village would move to the moorland pastures with the livestock, to take advantage of the  better grazing - and to give the in-by land a rest.  While there, they would make butter and cheese, spin and knit, sing and tell stories. They lived in very simple dwellings or shelters known as sheilings, built from stone and turf.  Those left behind in the village were busy with the growing, fishing, peat cutting, hay making, harvesting and all those other activities of crofting. This system of transhumance (to travel across the earth) was once common practice amongst pastoral societies all over the world, and it happened here even as late as the 1950s. Some people still maintain a moorland sheiling today- perhaps for use at peat cutting time, as a fishing hut, or just simply as a retreat.
I mentioned Alice Starmore's writing in Earthlines magazine last week.  In this article, she writes most movingly about her own memories and experiences of Summers spent at the sheilings; her words and images have been haunting me since I read them..  At the same time, I have been dipping into Dr John Francis's book - The Ragged Edge of Silence.  I mentioned him last week too; during his 22 years of walking across America, he became silent for much of that time - as he did this, he found that he was then truly able to listen - and to learn.

These writings have come to me at just the right time.  I had been wondering about where I was going with the blog.  I have come to a point where I feel I am going over old ground - struggling to find something to say. Furthermore, there are so many other things happening that I need to give my energies completely to. I have been posting less over the last few weeks, and I have not been responding to comments or visiting other blogs as much as I would like to.  I don't want to stop blogging  (I don't think I could do that anyway) I do love coming here most days and seeing what emerges.  But -  I  am feeling a need to step back a bit - to spend some time in my own sheiling, if you like.  Working away at life - immersing myself in the countless projects I seem to acquire, but also to take some time, thinking, reflecting, meditating, and re-membering. As well as this, I would like to explore the idea of silence. The physical world is a noisy enough place at the best of times, but this online virtual world seems relentless in it's clamouring, twittering attention-seeking demands. I find myself losing precious time - time I will never get back - being sucked in - often to inspiring, enriching places, but sometimes to those that disturb my soul and my peace of mind.

So, I am taking myself off to the sheiling for the Summer. I will still be posting though -pictures only, or perhaps a haiku or something like that - comments disabled. I plan to use this space as a silent journal of my Summer retreat. I hope you will all put up with my latest notion. It will be strange not to read all the wonderful comments that readers so kindly leave. I know I will miss the conversation, and the validation too. I am not even sure what I am trying to achieve here - only that all my recent thoughts and wonderings have coalesced into this - and it feels as if it is the right thing to do - for now. I hope to begin my posts from the Summer sheiling in a couple of days - much love xxx

95 comments:

  1. Have a lovely summer, look forward to the photos, but I hope you are not away too long, I always enjoy reading your posts, take care
    Becky x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Becky - hope you have a productive time too xx

      Delete
  2. Aw, I will miss you, have a lovely summer break, I will keep up with the pictures.
    V
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. I enjoy the posts too. Write how you feel and take care. BTW; GZ from ook blog is coming over soon and would like to meet you :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw that Andrea and I really hope we can meet up. You too - although given the time we both spend in An lanntair, i am surprised we haven't bumped into each other (exceot i don't know what you look like - lol)
      xx

      Delete
  4. Lovely post. Glad you will still be sharing some of your lovely photos. Take care.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Liz - i will still be around a fair bit, but very quietly :-)

      Delete
  5. We'll miss you but will enjoy the pix, I'm sure. Have a lovely summer of silence wherever it might be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Iain, fairly soon it will be up to my knees in a peat bank again... quite looking forward to that now. x

      Delete
  6. Have a truly magical summer :) xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Linzi - hope you keep well and might bump into you in town sometime x

      Delete
  7. I completely understand. I don't often comment to you, as I don't often have the TIME for similar reasons to yourself. But I do find what you say inspiring and you have started me on many personal journeys through your links left, particularly to Taproot, Earthlines and The Ragged Edge of Silence; so many thanks and blessings for your ability and caring to share yourself here!

    Love Fee.x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you for that lovely comment Fee. This web can be so very inspiring and I know i have grown so much within myself just by being here. I think i need to assimilate some of that now. xxx

      Delete
  8. Blessings to you all for the Summer. I think trying to do the regular blogging that you do is hard work, I'm a bit more random - I do enjoy it but have the same difficulties with the regularity.

    Shall look forward to browsing your pictures.
    love Dawn xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sometimes we all need time to 'just be', to explore ourselves, to immerse ourselves totally in our own lives, and as you say to listen and learn.................enjoy your summer retreat Jacqui, I will drop into your blog to still enjoy your pictures and your fanatastic landscape.

    lily xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes,Lily - I am really hearing this message right now xx

      Delete
  10. I feel myself getting to that point too and I am thinking about what kind of changes to make in my life. I wish you a blessed Summer and hope you find the peace and quiet you are looking for.

    Maria

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you, Maria. i don't really want to change anything about my life, just how I manage things, I suppose. xxx

      Delete
  11. Enjoy your summer and you will be missed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks karen - I will be popping up now and again though ;)

      Delete
  12. Jacqui, I have these time periods as well. The inter webs can be so full of inspiration and good, however if I get sucked into it I cannot participate in the here and now. Have a wonder-filled summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats the way it goes for me too Heather. Too distracting from what I need to be focussing on here. xxx

      Delete
  13. Enjoy your Summer, I know what you mean about finding the time to blog. I had a long break from blogging and once again I'm struggling to find time to post!
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Life is so busy and that is a good thing. Hope you get some space for yourself too xxx

      Delete
  14. Once again you have put into words the feelings I have myself. I just kept nodding, with every line I read. Wishing you the best of summer days, and sending you kindred spirit hugs. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tina - hugs to you too - not so very far away. maybe our tea date in Inverness might happen one of these days xx

      Delete
  15. Enjoy the stillness that your break brings, I will miss you loads, but how wonderful to be listening to what has been coming to you, and even better to be acting upon it. Much love. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Claire - I won't be far away, and posting pictures or the odd word. But I do need to listen - too often I have ignored that voice - love xxx

      Delete
  16. Usually I cannot comment, but shall try today. Have a productive summer, both in the body and the mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lois - thanks for trying - not sure why you couldn't before, but hopefully the glitches will disappear. Thank you for your comment too - xxx

      Delete
  17. I hope you enjoy the quiet and beauty of that which surrounds you and are able to achieve what you need. Peace be with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks melissa - hope you keep warm over there - strange to think you will be having winter while we have summer - it always amazes me for some reason. xx

      Delete
  18. I love the idea of retreating to a sheiling for a bit of peace. Post-natal depression just won't leave me alone, and so often I wish for my own private hermitage and for everything else to just go away so that I can work out where I am.

    I know you'll find the mental space restorative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you can find some time or space for yourself, Mel. You work so hard at keeping this at bay. Hugs xxx

      Delete
  19. Best wishes for you this Summer. (:
    I think the idea of sheiling is a great one. It's too bad that communities don't gather in the same way as much any more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I know - such a different way of living - maybe a bloggers sheiling?
      xx

      Delete
  20. May you find the Silence, Peace and Stillness you seek.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra - have a great season. Not sure if i will find peace and stillness in everyday life, but not spending so much time online should help. xx

      Delete
  21. Have a wonderful respite. I will miss you and look forward to your return!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Have a wonderful respite. I will miss you and eagerly await your return!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Will enjoy looking at your lovely photos- have a wonderful, productive time at the shieling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Catriona - i have a lot of projects needing some serious attention, so i hope so xx

      Delete
  24. Have a wonderful summer and enjoy your break. I'll look forward to your return!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Jacqui, I will miss your words but I understand so completely. Am kind of wishing I had a sheiling myself. I am feeling a deep need for a break of some kind (though from what I am not sure) and am looking for more quiet solitude. I think of you often, especially when I am reading Katie Morag books to the little ones. :)
    Looking forward to seeing your beautiful photos as always.

    Laura xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura - I don't think there has to be a reason to feel the pull for some solitude - i think it is a real innate need to withdraw now and again. Hope you can find some space to do this yourself. James likes katie Morag too - love to you all xxx

      Delete
  26. You know, I could see this coming. I am not a great one for putting things into words as you know. but just had a feeling. I have been thinking of you lately and just feel this is the right thing for you to do.

    I find that when life gets too busy I retreat. I have learnt a lot from doing this and also who my friends are as they are the ones who are still sitting along side you and when you pop up again so do they. I have also lost a few friends from doing this too but hey ho.

    Enjoy your summer

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know Deb - i felt some kind of energy when you popped up the other day - lol. Hope things are working out for you - have a great summer yourself xxx

      Delete
  27. Enjoy your summer. I have only just found your blog so have many posts to go through over our winter months as well as looking at the photos you post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan - I know you are heading into Winter now and I will be thinking of you. Hope you enjoy going back over the early days - xxx

      Delete
  28. Jacqui,I don't always comment but I do always read your blog and usually towards the end of the day (when the house is quiet ) and find it kind of inspirational but also kind of calming.
    Someone once said to me, we're kind of like a bucket (bear with me ),where we are bombarded by noise,chatter,information,demands and sometimes that bucket just overflows. Its nice sometimes to have an empty bucket. A bit you know,but I understand what they were trying to say.
    Enjoy and take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I completely understand that SE - it is so true. Thanks for your lovely comments - see you soon with an empty pail :-)

      Delete
  29. I'm looking forward to reading your silent journal. I imagine I'll find it as inspirational as I have your current blog.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Jacqui-I only just found you a few weeks ago, so do not really know much about your life. I do understand the need to seek quietness and time to think and live in the moment. I've found that blogging takes much more time than I ever imagined when I began. I admire you for taking a time-out to concentrate more fully on your "real" life. I look forward to seeing your pictures. Have a wonderful summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dianne - Life is good - no real worries that I need to sort out - just so much going on that the real world has to take some precedence. Have a great summer yourself xx

      Delete
  31. I hope you enjoy the silence and feel the warmth and comfort in it. It is a refreshing thing to do, being mindful every moment. Much love x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Uma - hope you are all well - maybe see you next time you are here x

      Delete
  32. Dear Jacqui, I know exactly what you mean. I often feel the need for stillness, silence. I love to walk alone, to think, or not think, to meditate, just flow. I think we all need to switch off from the nosie, or we should, for our spiritual wellbeing.
    Wish I was summer sheiling as well! I look forward to seeing your always wonderful photographs.
    Much love to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Trish - I hope you find some peace yourself over the summer - you give such a lot of yourself to others xxx

      Delete
  33. I discovered your blog about 6months ago and really enjoy reading it. I think I must have read the same book as you, many years ago, about lady who went to live in Highlands and it was a youthful dream of mine to follow suit.
    The reality of it is quite hectic, especially with a young son, I imagine.

    I can understand you stepping back. I find just reading blogs very time consuming and have disciplined myself to reading just a few, including yours, ofcourse!

    Best wishes for your summer retreat, hope you will be writing words some time in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Anon - and nice to hear from you. Things are very hectic, as you say, so hopefully I can get on with things for a couple of months and get back refreshed. Those books have a lot to answer for xxx

      Delete
  34. My first reaction to reading of your plan was "but her blog IS my summer shieling!!!" I know, pretty gracious, right? :-) Your blog really is a welcome respite from the endless noise and bustle that is city life.

    Upon reflection, I think what you're doing sounds just right. Although I'll miss your words, I'll welcome whatever posts feel right to you. Wishing you a wonderful summer living each day to its fullest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Tracy - that is very sweet! I will be around, and hopefully, without words, the sheiling can be what you want it to be too. xx

      Delete
  35. I feel so happy and peaceful for you, Jacqui...reading this. My mind is now filled with lovely images of past traditions, and modern interpretations of them. The longing for quiet just grows and grows, doesn't it?

    Warm wishes for your sheiling season, however long it may last.

    xo

    Lesley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Lesley - thank you. You are right - there is a deep need for stillness and peace. Looking back on these traditons although we know life was hard and time has brought many gains, I feel there is a yearning for what we have lost Xx

      Delete
  36. A lovely idea-make the most of your summer. Save the virtual world for the season of winter storms when you're stuck inside!

    Interesting article there-I would love to visit these people!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17537153

    all the best- Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fabulous stories - and there are many more like them here. Our orphan lamb was given to us by and 86 year old neighbour who still actively crofts.
      xx

      Delete
  37. I watched the you tube of Dr John, he was and is amazing. It's funny you wanting to take a step back as family circumstances and health have forced me also to do likewise. It's easier for me though as I'm truly hidden in cyber space and so folks don't rely on my posting or commenting, much harder if you have a blog follwoing like yours!

    Will be thinking of you dear friend and who knows I might just pick up that telephone and give you a call?!

    Much love to you and prayers that your time of much needed silence truly blesses your soul.

    San xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just do that - it would be lovely San - I was thinking of Sara just the other day when i saw the fruit tree man in stornoway. I didn't know he was a famous media gardener here on the island!
      xxx

      Delete
  38. I follow you by e-mail, so don't generally comment, but get a good deal of pleasure from your posts. I have just pruned the list of blogs I am following, hopefully to let me be more creative.Yours remains on the list for inspiration.
    Blessings on your summer retreat and on those dear to you. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bea - thanks fro saying hello - and thank you for such a lovely comment xxx

      Delete
  39. I found you today and now you are off on a retreat! Good for you, I understand the need for silence. I come from Quaker stock and their homes were a peaceful oasis. I will occupy myself with using your blog as a summer reading project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Susan - i will still be around in other ways, but a bit of a retreat going on right enough. Thank you for saying hello and I hope you enjoy following our journey xxx

      Delete
  40. Haven't commented before but thought I'd better get one in : ) I used to live near Skye and love reading your blog to soak up the beautiful photos! Enjoy your summer of silence, it sounds very restful, what a great idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sian - we sometimes drive down through Skye if we are heading to see family during the Summer. I popped over to your blog - and what stunning pictures you have yourself :)
      xx

      Delete
  41. Have a lovely break, I think it sounds like a brilliant idea, though I'll miss your posts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi - thanks GAE - hope you manage to get a break over the Summer too x

      Delete
  42. Have a wonderful summer, Jacqui! I hope you will find it very replenishing. Your readers will be right here whenever you come back, words or no words. If I get very Barefoot-Crofter-sick, I can look back at your archive! Such a wealth, thank you for sharing with us. Big hug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christine - you are so kind and thoughtful. Love and blessings to you all. xx

      Delete
  43. What a great step, I've often found the need sometimes to take a step back. I've met so many amazing people online but you are right, it is relentless. Your pictures are amazing and speak out for themselves so I shall look forward to seeing them and wish you all the peace and quiet you're looking for throughout your summer. Enjoy! :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi K - thank you. I'm not sure how quiet and peaceful it will be in real life, but a step back from the screen might help me cope with it.
      xx

      Delete
  44. May it be a fulfilling time in your life. :)

    Please can I have your address, mama? xxx

    ReplyDelete
  45. I don't know how I missed this post Jacqui. While I understand what you are saying, I will miss you. I know I comment about one day coming to your croft and I do so hope one day to fill that promise. Much love to you, James and John. I hope you have a fabulous summer.

    ReplyDelete
  46. i feel like tracey, and someday i hope to find myself there too. this is so beautifully written jacqui, i have felt like this many times, as much as i love blogging. i can't imagine my life without it now, but stepping back, i can imagine that. i guess that's what i'll be doing in a way leaving on our trip, i don't plan on being on the internet at all, which is good as there probably won't be any.
    blessings to you, enjoy your days.
    love, lori

    ReplyDelete
  47. Blessings on your journey, Jacqui. I have been feeling lately like my blog keeps going over the same ol' territory, and anyway my girls are half-naked, digging in the sand, mud, garden, whatever during a lot of the summer, so photos are iffy. I'm not necessarily taking a break, but I understand the desire.
    I'll still pop in to see your lovely photos...
    xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  48. Dear Jacqui...I know this comment is late in coming to you. I totally understand reasons for turning off the comments. I, too, love reading them, but it does take up so much of my time. With my very busy schedule, still working in the city, sometimes I get behind in reading my follower's posts. Take care, and know, that I truly enjoy your photos of Scotland, my dream place.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I really enjoy reading your Blog. I find your lifestyle very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Oh, I see I can still comment here! (You clearly have more mastery of Blogger than I do!) What a lovely idea and so beautifully explained. Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I doubt I will be the last to comment here, but I am a recent follower also and felt a need to say something to you about the Sheiling. I live in Washington State but have always have felt a kinship to your part of the world and this sounds wonderful. Once at a women's retreat, we had hours of the day set aside as 'silent' or non-speaking time; it amazed me how much I got out of that as we passed one another on paths and only smiled..but it wasn't for the entire day...that would be a bit difficult ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  52. sorry I wasn't well enough to visit Eileann Siar...but the time will come, and I hope to be living in Ayrshire somewhere within the tear

    ReplyDelete

Many thanks for visiting me. I love to read your thoughts and appreciate each one. I will respond to comments and queries here, so please check back xx

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...