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Friday, 18 December 2009

An earthworm in the snow

As always in Strathnairn, I woke late and lingered in bed; Lin even later. I sat watching over-dramatised news about snowy weather across the UK and a plenary speech by Obama at COP15 "Our ability to to take collective action is in doubt." After lunch at last Richard and I went for a walk along the Farnack. Grey-white with trees in silhouette and the sound of the river loud then quiet as we strolled with the leaping roaming dogs. The Highlands near my mother's home remind me, at this time of year, of Robert Frost's poem 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening'. Richard pointed to something at our feet.
I stared at the whitened path, at a straight twig as I thought, then realised he'd spotted an earthworm working its way gradually south across the snow. I lingered watching its progress, amazed that it should be where it was, hoping it would slide itself into the protective cover of the earth, but it continued on its way threading the uneven surface of the melting snow. By the time I looked up my son was a field away.
* * * "All the quality shops are closing in Inverness" said my Mum. She's especially saddened at losing Borders, the bookshop chain that has just gone into receivership. With her disabled parking permit Mum could be parked just outside Borders in the vast and rather unappealing retail park just outside the city - where a few days ago Richard, Amy and Guy went to enjoy watching James Cameron's tour de force 3D creation Avatar (my link is to the inimitable Corfucius who's seen the premier in Corfu) - and, helped into a wheelchair, go browsing among the shelves at Borders, get help finding and ordering books from the staff, and - taking the lift - go up to a mezzanine floor overlooking the book space and enjoy a coffee and cake at an in-store Starbucks, also equipped with WiFi. I, and a million others, have hardly helped with our growing tendency to get books on-line. Mum will miss the opportunity to browse, touch and turn the pages of real books. I can do virtual browsing but as important, I can, on a bicycle, free of the need to park a car, find bookshops that she would find inaccessible - both arriving and getting around, once inside (but see).
Brin Croft

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