Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Scotland: Alba

We're back from Scotland, almost a month now. Scotland was...Scotland is...amazing. To think that our ancestors stomped around on that ground for millennia--that our roots end here some hundred-sixty years ago and go back thousands of years on that little island in the North Atlantic is kind of mind-boggling, to be honest.

I have never seen anything so green as the Borders, or so magnificently awe-inspiring as the Highlands and Islands.

The Island of Skye--an t-Eilean Sgitheanach...oh what shall I say about you--what can I say, that wasn't said so much more eloquently by Sorley Maclean?

"O great Island, Island of my love,

many a night of them I fancied

the great ocean itself restless,

agitated with love of you

as you lay on the sea,

great beautiful bird of Scotland,

your supremely beautiful wings bent

about many-nooked Loch Bracadale,

your beautiful wings prostrate on the sea

from the Wild Stallion to the Aird of Sleat,

your joyous wings spread

about Loch Snizort and the world."

from Sorley MacLean's poem "An t-eilean"

What must our ancestors have felt to have left it for a new world? Did they have a choice? That Luke Weatherston, our great-great-great grandfather who emigrated at the age of twenty-five from that green land to New York, then Iowa...what did he feel, leaving it? What do I feel, home now but not home?

Supremely glad that I got to visit. Unutterably sad that I had to leave it.