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The Point at the Point of the Ocean

We planned a route to the West, figured where there was the least likelihood of people, and effectively left the world. I hadn’t been through to the west coast of Scotland in some time and this was a pretty good time to get through there. End of the season, still a slight warmth in the air…
We drove the miles. The landscape grew ever more dramatic…
There is a strange thing that happens in Scotland when moving north and west. The heart quickens as the hills rise ever steeper and it is easy – almost unavoidable – to gasp at the majesty, gape in awe, and blandly declare the whole spectacle beautiful, and so forth… But then the ante is upped further and discomfort sets in. The emotions are really grabbed in an uncomfortable way as the scene becomes so dark, the bleak, rocky outcrops so oppressive and threatening that one feels almost overcome by the desire to scream and plead to be torn away from such a bitter landscape. it feels cruel, certainly, but too silent and brooding to be truly hostile…
Emotionally, the process is allowing the heart to be moved, then the phenomena increases in concentration and the heart can no longer bear it. This is not unique to Scotland, but the flavour of the emotions is unique to the place. i recall a similar experience whereby the landscape hit at an unprecedented level – In Switzerland, on a mountsain train at the moment when the Eiger first came into view, towering out of the sky, snow and ice burning bright as magnesium flares in the sun – but the emotional print was different. In Switzerland, the surge was towards elation.
Once we passed through the process, we were free to enjoy the solitude of island beaches, dark, dark water, and the stains we could leave on the landscape with our memories.
Ardnamurchan translates as the Point of the Ocean. So, the Point of Ardnamurchan must translate as the Point of the Point of the Ocean. And why mention it here in the context of this blog? well, it is in such scenes that our little work is done. Amid the concerns of little lives paying their way, there is the time to sketch chords on the sand, measure the change in expression of hillsides as the clouds move in front of the light, drink the wine, salute old years, query the hidden shadows of the coming days… and confirm that there is still the strength to burn again, lift the bale, engage the hand and eye, and work.

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