Picture This: Skye’s Ben Tianavaig

by Keith Savage · 6 comments

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.

HoggaNo Gravatar April 15, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Scotland is high on my list of places to see.. unfortunately so are many other places haha. So pretty!


Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 15, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Glad to hear it!


KenNo Gravatar April 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM

There is a spirituality to be found in nature and I think it’s usually when we are alone, without distractions and open to its presence. I’ve felt it in Scotland and here, in the U.S., too, and usually in a setting like Ben Tianavaig. Is it any wonder that humankind has been an animist for aeons? But it’s a different spirituality than that of religious institutions which seem increasingly corporate rather than spiritual.


Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 13, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Interesting point about animism. I see the allure. I agree about “big religion” – just not my thing.


Brock - Backpack With BrockNo Gravatar April 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM

That picture is beautiful! There’s so much to look at


Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 13, 2012 at 5:52 PM

I’m still digging up photos from my trips last year that I can’t believe haven’t been showcased here. But I’m looking forward to going back to Scotland in less than two weeks to replenish my stockpile.


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