Assynt

Ewan Mealyou writes...

I recently returned from a family holiday in Assynt in the North West of Scotland. I know this area well, revisiting a number of times in the last 20 years.

 

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Photo: Sunset at Sandalwood Bay, Ewan Mealyou

Grand plans and the diversions of ego

In this place the earth’s ancient bones poke through. The landscape is unyielding. The mountains are monolithic. The rivers run fast to a wild rocky coast with white beaches, sea stacks and split rocks. Set amidst which are the broken brochs and tumbled down dwellings of long ago peoples.
How long ago?
It doesn’t matter, they were like me, and I salute them.

Here I am, put in my place. I am small. Tiny.
The billionth (trillionth?) part of a pixel on a 50 inch screen.
These mountains, rocky inlets and peat bogs are indifferent;
to my worries,
to my well-being,
to my existence.
They care nothing for grand plans, the diversions of ego, family bickering, or children’s laughter.

My love for this place is unrequited. Yet, it does me this great service.

It shows me how I have changed.

The least of you or me, is a miracle

The book tells us our “days are like grass”.
We are fleetingly here.
These wild places, raw landscapes, show us that truth.
Yet, we are part of it and,
even if we feel dull,
we burn so very brightly.
The least of you or me, is a miracle,
as is the dying African child,
looking at me from another desolate landscape,
through the TV screen.
How can this be?

Standing on the beach at sunset, looking West. I wonder.
If I sailed the latitude from here (bumping round the tip of Skye),
what would the outcome be?
Would I be blown off course to Greenland,
or make landfall in Labrador,
or, as sailors in old times thought,
fall off the end of the Earth itself?

In this moment, I am unsure.