The bones of the world, extruded and shaped into the minor wonders of mankind, depart as dust on the winds of passing ages. For centuries the Lords of the Isles ruled here from Eilean Mór, a small island in Loch Finlaggan on the isle of Islay. Their stewardship was a tangle of successions, wars, and coups among the Scottish, Norse, and Irish; now those centuries of heated machinations are little more than salt in the earth beneath a hollow sky. I follow a soft, loamy path to a well-kept wooden bridge as light rain spits in fits. More than any museum I’ve visited, the Scottish isles and highlands echo and vibrate with the spirits of the bygone.
The ruins of a great hall and chapel stretch from the ground like the teeth of some monstrous, mythical creature. Gravel grinds beneath my feet as I walk among the ruins where sheets of glass buffer ancient carvings from the elements. The turf is oddly lumpy, and I wonder what other bodies wait to be unearthed on Eilean Mór. I have an urge to sit and stare, to watch the grayscale clouds and the waters of Loch Finlaggan lap upon the reedy banks. The future is known. And then, after a time, a peek into some higher lore: forever is the time you have, and you will last.