There were storm clouds brewing overhead at the start of the week in which the people of Scotland will vote in a historic referendum to decide whether or not Scotland will become an independent state.

Algy flew down to the peat bogs, beneath the heavy sky, and erected his wee Saltire on a prominent tussock. As he gazed at the gathering clouds, he wondered what the future would hold for all his friends in Scotland, and he remembered a famous poem:

          What makes a nation’s pillars high
          And its foundations strong?
          What makes it mighty to defy
          The foes that round it throng?

          It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
          Go down in battle shock;
          Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
          Not on abiding rock.

          Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
          Of empires passed away;
          The blood has turned their stones to rust,
          Their glory to decay.

          And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
          Has seemed to nations sweet;
          But God has struck its luster down
          In ashes at his feet.

          Not gold but only men can make
          A people great and strong;
          Men who for truth and honor’s sake
          Stand fast and suffer long.

          Brave men who work while others sleep,
          Who dare while others fly…
          They build a nation’s pillars deep
          And lift them to the sky.

[Algy is quoting the poem A Nation’s Strength by the 19th century American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson.]

Stormy Weather                                                                                                   The sky was ominous but it actually never rained that day. “Bad” weather can actually be good weather for taking photos. The clouds add drama to a shot, they often make the colors around you more vibrant than otherwise (flowers and greenery especially) and there is a certain “power of the universe” energy that big storms and open skies impart. Of course you have to remember to be respectful of nature’s power and not get into dangerous situations, but that said bad weather can provide good photography.