The ribbon of payment curves left then dashes between columns of rowan trees toward towering Ben Vrackie, like a lamb to its mother. I step from the car and crane my neck. Snow turns the peak into a father’s stern face flickering in the firelight. Cold breath rolls off the mountain and through the pines to scour me. The air carries scents of cold, wet earth, livestock, and snow as delicate as a glass kilt pin. I can taste the malty sweetness of Edradour lingering on the back of my palate. Sheep prick the lush hillside like some inverse and earth-bound constellation. There is an enormous white mansion, small as any highland girl’s dollhouse.
I have a sudden urge to hide in the wood at Ben Vrackie’s feet, to huddle against the sheltering stone. The mountain will never disappear in the night or grow old and die. Its temperament only varies by our own black and bright moods. Here is a thing for ages when all else seems to flicker and flutter, pale and pirouette. Tell me Ben Vrackie lacks an essence as vital as my own. How could that world of yours pull such pangs from me? Tell me it is dumb stone. I will think you a motherless lamb.