The other week I wrote about impossible places and listed the Quiraing among them. That night I had a dream I flew back to Scotland. I landed in the grey and green streets of Edinburgh. I met a friend for tea.
I’ve been back in the states just over two months. My time has been filled with job-hunting, final project-writing, a massive rewrite of a book Amanda and I wrote last summer, puzzle-making, movie-watching, photographing, cooking, thrifting, and trying to understand how to go from being so incredibly distant to so suddenly, immediately, up close (without losing my mind in the process: that’s the tricky part).
The day we hiked the Quiraing was sunny and brisk. The weather was almost unheard of, actually: 50 degrees in the middle of winter in Scotland. It didn’t rain for a week in the Highlands. I saw the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. My brain didn’t know how to compute the scenery. It stretched on forever. It made you dizzy.
The hike itself was mostly flat, just seemingly unending. We passed little flocks of painted sheep and a dozen other hikers and we ate apples and peanut butter at the halfway point. The wind, out there, was strong enough to blow you over. You had to hold on.
We stayed in a tiny lodge with a big living room and an even bigger wood fireplace. Charlena made the fires and I wrote a horror story on my computer. Well—it was supposed to be a horror story. I think it was more just slightly spooky.
California and Scotland couldn’t be any further removed, but they each have their merits. Yesterday, after signing some papers that meant I am once again (after a year and a half) among the employed, I stepped out onto Santa Monica Boulevard and looked to my left. And there—the ocean. You could see the ocean from the Quiraing, too. Different waters, sure, but it’s really all connected.
photographs taken on the Isle of Skye in the UK
with a Canon 60D