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Sun, 04 May 2008
  A Brief Journey to the Place where Shadwell lives

 Shetland letter March 24th 2008

Shetland Lament

LAST NIGHT as I laid down my head I dreamt a dream.
In need of solace I headed for the hills and soon lost my bearings. The ancient cairn I used as a landmarker was gone and in its place was a giant windmill.

In need of rest I looked for a place to sit and tried to settle at the base of this great graffiti stricken rusting beast. Amongst the broken glass and beer can filth I looked around and found myself in an industrial landscape with wind turbines stretching as far as the eye could see.
Suddenly I heard a truck driving up the giant road that cut into the hills. Then men and boys unloaded motorbikes and screeched around the track they had made into the heather.

Distressed I began to draw and looked to the sky in search of spiralling lapwings, but instead all I could see was the never ending spiralling of windmill blades cutting into this once tranquil air like a knife in the night.
Unable to draw I began to walk and found myself at the shore of a loch where years ago I could catch a dozen half pound, ruby encrusted, brown trout with ease. I fished on without a fish. Then I looked into the water and noticed that it was black with death and peat run off.
I threw down my rod and walked again. Then in the distance I saw a traveller. As he approached I noticed that like me he too was weeping and heavy laden. I asked him where he was from and what was he doing here. He said he came from afar in search of Shetland’s legendary beauty and multitude of birds, but so far he had found neither birds nor beauty.
He enquired where he could see merlins and whimbrel and I said they had not been seen round here for some time. Even the curlew and snipe had nowhere to rest their heads on this hill and the skylarks no longer sang, though the bonxies were doing well on the dead birds that lay beneath each turbine.

We bid farewell and he said he would not be coming to these isles again. In despair I headed back to the village to seek out the company of friends and when I knocked on the door of the dishevelled house a bleary-eyed woman answered who I did not recognise.

I enquired what had happened to my friends and she said that several years after the turbines had arrived they could take the noise and visual intrusion no more and unable to sell their house they had upped and gone and let it out to her. I asked why this village, which I remember as being so full of fun and children, was so empty, and she said that no one wanted to live here any more.
I started to run as fast and far away as possible but no matter how far I ran in any direction I could still see the turbines.
Dazed and sweating I collapsed into a heap and then suddenly I was awakened by the sound of a skylark singing high above the house. I looked outside and the hill was still intact and I realised it was indeed a very bad dream.

Paul Bloomer

Posted 09:43

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