Scottish Boundaries – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Boundaries mark the most beautiful of places, between the ocean and the shore, between the mountains and the plains, where the canyon meets the river.”

William Paul Young

(6 photos)



This week Ben has challenged us to illustrate boundaries – a seemingly straightforward request but one that is open to many interpretations. I’ve chosen to be literal with my photographs while waxing a bit more philosophical in my thoughts. My opening capture is focused on a pair of sheep grazing happily within the fence by which they are confined; further restricted by the mountains beyond. So too, many of us remain confined by invisible fences such as fear of the unknown or fear of failure.



“We need people who push boundaries rather than retreat inside them.”

Tim Fargo

Above, a lone sheep seems to have found the perfect place to graze – alongside a carefully-crafted stone fence leading through bright green grass and yellow flowers to the beautiful blue sea beyond. No matter how comfortable you may be in your personal confines though, would it not be a worthy goal to break outside of them occasionally to face the challenges that await – pushing the boundaries as Tim Fargo says, rather than retreating from them like sheep?



“We love to overlook the boundaries which we do not wish to pass.”

Samuel Johnson

We are all sometimes guilty of growing overly comfortable within the boundaries we’ve established – as Mr. Johnson says, overlooking those we do not wish to pass. Do we allow ourselves to remain in situations that may no longer be in our best interest just because it’s the “devil you know” ? Have we stayed in a dead-end job, resisted a relocation, rejected an offer of friendship – all for the wrong reasons, anywhere along the line?



“Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment.”

Marshall McLuhan

What of the boundaries of our circumstances? Like the similarly-shaded sheep above, do we befriend only those in our same social sphere; of our own faith or race; or of the same political persuasion? How often have we sought to help those who need a hand, or a friend, or simply someone’s ear or open mind? Have we discounted those whose opinions differ from our own, rather than seeking to understand and perhaps learn from a different point of view?



“There is no boundary between heaven and earth unless we believe in one.”

Leland Dirks

The farm animals in these photographs are confined within real, finite boundaries – but happily for the most part we humans are not. We have the ability to overcome our limitations and our fears, to reach beyond whatever it is that confines us and strive for something better.



“We are designed boundary-less and limitless in what we can achieve. Unfortunately, we are also skillful in building boundaries and limits…”

Assegid Habtewold

Think about the personal boundaries you’ve built. Do they make sense? Are they still serving you well or do they need to be shaken up a bit? If your answer is no, good for you! If not, what might you achieve if you stepped outside of your own fences and reached for new heights? The view beyond your current boundaries just might be a bit more beautiful than you think!

My thanks to Ben for his thought-provoking challenge. To see some others’ responses, click here.

103 thoughts on “Scottish Boundaries – Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Beautiful photos Tina of a great landscape and the thoughts and quotes as always are food for thought. We are so lucky to live in countries that do not set boundaries on what we can do and were we can go. As you say, in our countries the only boundaries are in the mind often created by fear of the unknown instead of embracing the challenge and often reaping the rewards of change.

  2. A lovely thoughtful response to the challenge – it has given us a lot to think about this week – and a great way to share some of your Scotland pics 🙂

  3. beautiful – gotta love those sheep! and some boundaries are important, and others are not. and some need to be pushed a bit 🙂 those which isolate and alienate are not worth preserving. lots of food for thought here. thanks for sharing.

  4. These are beautiful shots – as they flow with your words, quite philosophical. The lone sheep fenced in is actually a very comforting feeling for there are times this is just the place a person/soul needs to be. I think, at times, I have the opposite problem: I float around too often outside the box that sometimes I need to find boundaries to relax and catch my breath a bit 🙂 Wish you a great week ahead Tina ~

      • Yes, but spending so much time outside the box makes me crave time inside the box 🙂 Wishes for a great week (and not too much rain for you…just had a Cat 3 typhoon pass by HK which was good for some indoor time!).

      • Oh boy, I can relate to that. Finally getting out of what the media has called “a 500-year storm” flooding everywhere, roads closed, people stranded. No personal impact other than inconvenience but we are all a bit stir-crazy after 4 days of being homebound!

  5. OMG your shots are magical and your words absolutely gorgeous!!! I got chills from reading them perfectly paired with the photos!! Truly so much to contemplate…..such beauty to look at….
    have we created our own boundaries in our comfort…Hmmmmmmmmmm??????
    Thank U!!!

  6. Tina you have put into words a lot of how I was thinking about our recent move. I am still sad when I think about leaving, but knew it was the right thing to do for many reasons. Now my boundaries are endless as we decide where to settle, work and live. It is exciting, but scary at the same time as we want to be sure to make the right choice where we can both be happy in new jobs and afford the crazy real estate prices that we didn’t have to worry about for 5 years,

    • I know how hard the decision was for you but am sure with the air quality it was the right thing. You two will end up somewhere terrific I’m sure! We also made a big change by selling our home and are a bit unsettled ourselves, but confident the future is bright! Meanwhile we need to see the end of this darned storm! A good time NOT to be a homeowner!!

      • Oh dear it would be scary to be involved in that storm and worse as a home owner with all the damages. My parents said the wind was even reaching them in Ontario. The waves on a usually calm Lake Ontario we high and rough. Be safe!

  7. It’s been too long since I’ve been here, Tina, and what a great post. I guess you’ve been in Scotland lately – always crossing boundaries, aren’t you? Happy travels, and thanks for going beyond the obvious in your post.

    • How nice to hear from you BB – it has indeed been a long time!! Yes, I’ve done my share of border crossing, this summer to Scotland which was magical. Thanks for your visit and comment!

  8. You have found some interesting boundaries and even more interesting sheep! And as always I love your take on the challenge. I was always one for pushing boundaries, though I have become more settled in my ways now and happy in my own skin; doesn’t mean I don’t look for challenges though 😉

  9. What a great response to this week’s challenge, Tina. Beautiful photos of the sheep. They look very serene grazing and wandering aimlessly about their confines. Also, brilliant text. I haven’t heard this phrase in a while, “just because it’s the “devil you know” “. We all certainly have a liking to the spaces we’ve always walked because they give us peace of mind. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Then again, it’s breaking boundaries where we find out what we’re truly capable of. For a long time I thought I’d never write a book, that is was something too daunting and out of my reach. Now, I’ve done a first draft, albeit a shoddy one 😀 Hope you have a good week, Tina 🙂

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Mabel. Yes, the sheep seemed very comfortable in their confines altho I’m sure it’s better for them than for us! Good for you for even TRYING to write a book. A pretty daunting challenge but you have such a way with words I know you’ll succeed!

  10. There is so much to enjoy and think about with this post Tina. The photos have a wonderful timelessness about them and remind me of our Scottish sojourn. Your text is truly thought provoking, particularly the last para challenging us to think about our own personal boundaries. I try and break out of mine in the studio whenever I can and am often surprised and exhilarated by what transpires. Thanks as always for enriching my day 🙂

    • Thanks Andrew – timeless is a perfect descriptor for Scotland. Much of the country appears and I’m sure it did hundreds of years ago. As for my thoughts – I can see how creative you are in your art and am not a bit surprised that it’s an environment where your boundaries are often broken – with wonderful results!

  11. Love this post. Your photos are beautiful but your words are spot-on. I absolutely agree with you. Only recently have I learnt that it’s more than ok to cross boundaries. And it’s fun 😉

  12. Oh T…… Love your beautiful reflections… Could be coming from a” pulpit”!!👼 A particularly timely topic on boundaries of which our rising waters seem to have overstepped …. In Atlanta hoping for the best for our Low Country friends and neighbors. Thanks for a great post.

    • Thank you so much Linda for your lovely compliment. Yes, our boundaries are totally overflowing today – hadn’t thought of it that way!! I think so far everyone is simply a bit stir crazy but not in any danger. Appreciate your checking in.

  13. Beautiful …. post and images … dare I guess they are from Ireland. I love that you have added your own thoughts to the quotes – beautiful. Tina, I wish you a pleasant weekend.

      • Tina, I’m sure that once Scotland and Ireland was connected .. they have the nearly the same nature and landscape. Lovely Scottish images … I just love Scotland and the Scots – worked with them for years ..

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