Beneath the clouds of Glen More, a narrow road bounds over rill and heath like Highlanders of ages past. The hollow glen whispers on the grasses and burns streaming from the hilltops like dreams from a widow’s eyes. I am alone for the entire traverse of the glen, though I often notice something from the corner of my eye, at the edge of hearing. Skidding down a bank, I dip my hand in a frigid, crystalline stream. An old Gaelic belief suggests that the souls of heroes return to the hills of their country after death, to the scenes of their happiest times in life. Perhaps Glen More isn’t as empty as it appears. Though the holy site of ancient Iona lies far behind me, I feel much closer to heaven here among the upraised arms of Mull.
Metaphors cloud my vision everywhere in Scotland: The winds are the airs of fiddles, the mist-wrapped sunbeam is a smile breaking through tears, the bony ridges are the hands of a grandfather. Am I just a dreamer, someone who wishes to see the world a certain way? Or perhaps there are places, like Glen More, where the veil between what is and what is imagined narrows, where we can see through the opacity of our minds.