“Rainstorm over the Sea,” John Constable, 1824-1828, WikiArt.

When will spring arrive on outer Hebrides?
Question I, Willow, asked to setting sun
Dying violet light, short winter days,
Eternal island nights, ghastly gales, cold,
Windblown rain pelting our stone cottage,
Torrents running down paths, cart trails,
More desolate weeks lay ahead, long days
And nights huddling around hearth fires,
Remembering sunny days, tumbling clouds,
Darting seabirds, clothes on line breeze-
Drying, wind-waving flower blooms.

“We are safe,” Papa offers, pipe-puffing,
Wood-carving, shavings fire-thrown. We
Read old newspapers, each story shared,
Memorized, until crumbling tatters died
Natural death. Hard-howling wind pushed
On cottage door, highwayman, night thief,
Rain blowing horizontal. “Rough with the
Smooth, weather worse on mainland,” Papa
Consoled, reminding our cottage, double-
Stone wall, in between packed with sandy
Gravel, impervious to winter storms.

Next morn, respite against rain, cloud-
Illuminating sun rose over outer isles,
What seemed endless, yes, ended, winter
Gave way to brighter days, earth had not
Ended. Roaming on my own, washing
Clothes, soapy scrubbing, stream-water
Rinsing, and first rebirth of life, lamb-
Birthing, wobbly legs, promised renewal,
Fishing boats set sail, hopes fulfilled.
When will winter end, spring arrive?
All in good time.

For more on visiting the Outer Hebrides Islands during winter,
see this picturesque link. Thanks for reading.


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