Skye’s vast Trotternish peninsula harbors stands of colossal and forgotten trees. Here, beneath the stoic gaze of the Old Man of Storr, a race of giant conifers angled arms to catch the transient sun. I passed under the boughs in near darkness and followed the light like some hapless flapping insect. Cold air huddled amongst the trunks and water seeped over mossy roots before dripping into streamlets. This was only the beginning of a steep and taxing journey to the boulder-strewn upper reaches. Old darkness hung between me and the light.
The trees cradled a tunnel of radiance, and a couple who must have been a few years younger than me passed into it. The specter of age had become nearly corporeal here, and a confrontation loomed. I kicked across the muddy turf like a louse along a part and wondered at this liminal passage to the Old Man, a striking and singular slab of standing rock that commanded the eastern coast of the peninsula. Would I be judged? Would I manage to stagger into the light like them? I half-pondered stopping there in the shade of the ancients, replete, as I was, with my breath and youth and shuddering fears.