Song of the Rolling Earth

19 Feb

I have just been reading ‘Song of the Rolling Earth – A Highland Odyssey’ by John Lister-Kaye. It is an autobiographical work set, unsurprisingly in the highlands of Scotland and documents the establishment of the Aigas field centre based near Beauly, but also includes the interesting history, wildlife and society that surround the Highlands of Scotland. 

I first came across Lister-Kaye when I read ‘The Seeing Eye’ a couple of years ago. This book captures the notes of a true naturalist and completely drew me into a world wildlife and community which I desperately want to experience one day. He is a talented writer who manages to suck the reader in so that you can almost feel the harsh but rewarding life he led. I would definitely recommend this book. 

Song of the Rolling Earth is a more recent book, published in 2003. I have found it harder work that The Seeing Eye simply as it seems more poetic and ‘wordy’ and you have to concentrate to understand what’s going on. However, there are just some points when he describes certain wildlife encounters, or specific people his talent for writing really shines through.  
I was especially struck by his descriptions of the crofters he met when he first arrived in the area in the 1970’s and how utterly different (and preferable in many ways!) their life was from most people’s today. Their life was harsh, simple and completely governed by the seasons and natural forces, but yet they seemed to love it and require none of the technology, travelling, and ‘clutter’ that fills our lives today.
I’m not saying I would want to live in a tiny roughly built croft with only a peat fire for warmth – don’t worry I haven’t romanticised their lives that much, they must have been really difficult  – but just to escape the commercialism, individualism and industry which just seems to be shoved in our faces 24/7 would be great! 

The book also made me want to go to Aigas centre. Maybe to do their ranger training programme (depending on what path we decide to take after Josh graduates) or maybe just for a holiday!

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