A half-moon of silvery silt cups the Sound of Raasay, the little beach glittering with nomadic trails of seawater wending their way back to the bay. But I stand before calcified rubble strewn with reeking seaweed, the sloping mass of Ben Tianavaig ramping into the spheres. Sunlight slashes through the cracked sky, the bodies and faces of clouds and cliffs flicker over the landscape in the semblance of a rave. The wind is the only constant in Scotland, and it is a joy for the senses: It crafts light shows and carries woodsmoke and brine from afar, whistles through sea caves and over swards underlain with rabbit warrens, chills the sweat on my brow and flows like airy ice across my palate.
I stand here awhile and then kick across the rocks while dodging pellets of sheep dung. I spend a lot of time in Scotland in solitude, in the shadow of greatness like Ben Tianavaig. There’s a tangible enlivening in this setting, something vital to the mind’s desire to reach beyond or across whatever holds us back. Maybe the beauty will rub off, or at least calibrate my understanding of it, so that my creations might be made in its image. These feel like the first steps of spirituality.