The year molts its summer skin and readies its autumn burial. White light flickers over peaks piercing the heavens above Glen Rosa. A great square of indigo and ember flowers mark the entrance to Brodick, the gateway to the Isle of Arran. The interplay of light and shadow and color dazzles my jet-lagged eyes. Every footfall hammers the earth with a debt of sleep as I shuffle along Brodick Bay like some forlorn spirit. Cool air dissolves the heat of the small, white sun. There was a man sitting alone at the picnic table. Everywhere the fizzing smell of green life thrums behind the visible world. I have arrived to the holy hill of the apple trees. Eamain Abhlach. Avalon.
Avalon is the physical manifestation of the Otherworld, the resting place of King Arthur, the Celtic land of the dead. But death, for the Celts, was never so terrifying or final as in modern religions. For them life is immortal; death is merely another stage, a kind of winter for the human experience. I look across the water to The Goatfell with its peak lost in the clouds. I had also sailed west across the sea. Perhaps Arthur still wanders the hills of Arran, picking wild blackberries, and sitting quietly along the bay. Waiting for spring.