It is my first evening on Rathlin and I will be here for two weeks. The island has been submerged in thick mist which will roll continuously in from the sea and across the land, for days on end.

I walk up the small hill behind the Camping Barn in the dusk. This viewpoint has no view tonight; of the sea, of Fair Head or Rue Light, of Scotland or Donegal. All that is visible is the ground carpeted in rough heather stretching into the white blindness of mist.

I stand still.

Such birdsong! Layer upon layer of melody and rich texture, pattern and randomness interwoven. There are delightful moments of silence where I hold my breath before the birds seem to catch themselves on and tumble back into their sweet proclamations.

The heavy, moist air disorientates me as I try to pinpoint where the birdsong is coming from. They must be just over the road, in the trees at Jim’s house. I wonder if they sing like this all the time, for I have never heard anything so wonderful, or am I only listening for the very first time?

I remember the solitary robin in our garden last winter that my mother listened so intently to from the front room, her eyes closed.

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