Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I wrote her a long letter today and remembered....

“You really should go down to the bottom of the hill before you leave”, she said. “I know you’re tired and you have a long drive back to the hotel, but it’s one of the most famous views in the country and you should see it”.

She was right, we were tired. Windblown, a bit damp, and now, following her most resplendent and generous gift of high tea, quite full and quite sleepy. The day was fast departing. Already the sky colours were deepening, moody grey clouds were boiling up across the horizon, and we never liked to travel the narrow road around the sea loch in darkness, always being too afraid we’d accidentally hit one of the sheep who preferred to doze just a wee bit too close to the side. But she seemed adamant - she of the gentle and soft-spoken spirit who never seemed adamant about anything - so we thought we should obey. Pulling out of the drive, we headed down the hill, unprepared for the steepness and sharpness of the curve ahead. Finally reaching the bottom we turned behind us to see a view straight out of literature, at once as forbidding as Mordor and as enchanted as Avalon. We looked around - no one else in sight. We could have been the only two people left on the planet. We could have been spirited backward a thousand years or more, perhaps invisible, mere spirits ourselves, with nothing real and solid on earth but those immortal black mountains rising above that churning black sea. Standing where we stood, with the howl of the sea wind in our ears, any scenario could have easily been imagined possible.

It wasn’t until many months later that I noticed the slight similarities between the photograph taken on that day and the Waterhouse painting shown above. Perhaps she had long ago warned him not to miss the view as well.