The Sessioners

by Keith Savage · 17 comments

Post image for The Sessioners

Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland | July 1, 2009

Dusk was a blanket falling over us as we gazed across the water. In the distance, a finger of land slipped away into the night and the fog. All around us shop lanterns flared in the dark like torches, while in the bay rainbow-hued fishing boats gradually turned black with the fleeing of the light. We filled our lungs with thick air, and I looked at my shadowy companions: mother, father, sister, wife. We had crossed the western highlands and passed through the monolithic Black Cuillins, a drive that forever shattered my definition of natural beauty.

Above the small bay, the convivial haunts of Bosville Terrace were discernible only by the scarlet and ochre tones yellowed by the lamp light. The faint sound of revelers from the bars and restaurants along that narrow road carried to our ears as we moved past the deserted streets and town square. In the vacuum of people slept a contented silence and safety.

At the top of the hill we came upon the Bosville Hotel and shouldered into the Merchant Bar. We shook off the night air to a din: the pressurized gasping of beer taps, cloudy glasses thudding tabletops, the occasional laugh piercing the ever-present human turbulence. The atmosphere was close but pleasurable, like a light hug or a winter quilt, with a potpourri of aged wood, brine, and spirits in the air. We pounced on a pair of beaten leather loveseats, and pints and drams soon filled our hands.

In the corner, the first few notes of a fiddle climbed to the ceiling through a forest of patrons. A session was starting. We smiled at each other over our cups. Few sounds fill my heart with such an array of elemental emotion. I slithered through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the artists at work. People danced and clapped. Fingers flickered over the bagpipes, fiddle, bodhran, guitar, and buttonbox.

Time flickered too.

Long after my parents had retired to Ben Tianavaig, I remained enthralled by the skirling, impromptu music of the sessioners. Later, out in the damp apex of night, laced with whisky and ale, my sister, wife, and I leaned against the old stone wall overlooking the bay far below. Small puffs of our breath drifted skyward like corporeal prayers. And I prayed the dawn would wait a few more hours.

ShalabhNo Gravatar April 20, 2010 at 2:36 AM

Beautifully written Keith!

KeithNo Gravatar April 22, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Appreciate the kind words!

floretaNo Gravatar April 18, 2010 at 7:04 PM

this inspires me to write similar mood pieces on my blog, as i’ve been wanting to for awhile now.. only you do it so much better 😀
.-= floreta´s last blog ..Anal Lube Giveaway (NSFW) =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 18, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Give it a shot. I’d love to read them!

MattNo Gravatar April 16, 2010 at 4:44 AM

Beautiful place, the Isle of Skye. And a beautifully written post!
.-= Matt´s last blog ..Friday Travel Photo: Cliffs of Moher, Ireland =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 18, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Skye is such a gripping place. I always feel the need to return soon after I leave. Thanks Matt!

SuzyNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Beautiful words here!
.-= Suzy´s last blog ..Early to the Airport Traveler or Final Boarding Call Walk-On? =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Thanks Suzy, really appreciate the comment!

GrayNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 8:31 AM

This is beautiful, Keith. I love your writing style!
.-= Gray´s last blog ..Introducing: =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Thank you, Gray. I really enjoy writing these abstract vignettes. They come pretty easily to me, whereas more natural dialogues and such are a bit more difficult. I’ll be flexing creatively across all these dimensions in the future.

NeepsNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 6:52 AM

Sitting in front of my Mac with a hot cup of coffee reading your blog, it all comes back. The harbor, the mists, the ales, the exchange rate, the BANCA NA H-ALBA, the wonderful music in the pubs, the sweet time with family. Very, very special, it was. I need to do it again one day.

KeithNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Start planning!

The Longest Way HomeNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 1:16 AM

Nice to see some good writing on a travel blog, yours has it 🙂
.-= The Longest Way Home´s last blog ..Jonny Bealby interview: inspirational travelers =-.

KeithNo Gravatar April 15, 2010 at 10:24 PM

Thanks, that means a lot.

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