Picture This: Machrie Moor’s Standing Stones

by Keith Savage · 5 comments

I chase ghosts down the sea road bordering the west of Arran. On this visit to the small isle I vowed to rectify a journey doomed to failure by low clouds and repellent rain five years earlier. Now, a cool wind peels off the sea and tears apart the clouds for the winsome Scottish sun. I trudge down a familiar dirt track as sheep dart away like a white sea parting. The moor is lush in its own way, and the essences of turned soil, damp salt, and green heath fill my mouth and sinuses. Jubilant winds roar across the open moorland. Still, somewhere a lamb mewls for its mother. After cresting a rise, a disused farmhouse marks the path to a series of standing stones. Alien worlds.

Red sandstone pillars spear the sky in unfathomable arrays. White and green lichens stream down the flat sides of the stones. One of the obelisks looks like a crude hand reaching skyward. Millennia have worn away the answers; perhaps something will look back on our constructions in the same manner. Intention is fleeting, but the work remains. I take a seat in the moist grasses and stare. The existence of these stones is inexplicable and terrifying…and a beautiful calibration of just where I stand: Amidst the sheep, awestruck, and surrounded by ghosts.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 2, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Cheers all, thanks for the comments.


wandering educatorsNo Gravatar October 1, 2011 at 7:16 AM

love this – SO beautiful. and yes, the words make the photo!


Global BasecampsNo Gravatar September 30, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Amazing picture, the accompanying words make it even better!


Jessica FestaNo Gravatar September 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM

I definitely need to add this on my list of things to see! great post!


PhilNo Gravatar September 30, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I remember seeing this picture on google plus (I think), but your words add a whole other dimension. Great stuff, Keith.


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