Picture This: Out of the Blue to Burghead

by Keith Savage · 7 comments


I stand in grasses thick as uncombed hair and bounded by ridges laced with tiny pink and yellow flowers. There is an overpowering scent of alkaline sea and the rumble-hiss of breaking waves, but I can’t see the water. So I clamber up the embankment that once formed the wall of a 1,200-year-old Pictish fort. An empty bench, the white and cloud-gray paint chipped and peeling, crouches before the Moray Firth’s expanse. Clouds bleed into the distant blue sky, blue sea, blue hills. Black Isle, Easter Ross, the Fearn Peninsula, and Sutherland: All far away places to my eye, but as close as the shirt upon my back compared to what lies beneath my feet. For whom does this Burghead bench wait?

I can almost see a man, years beyond his wisdom, sitting on this bench and staring at that child’s scrawl of horizon-bound land. He watches dolphins and whales in the firth, carves pieces of driftwood into animals, and imagines meaning in the cloud shapes. He acknowledges the warmth of sun; the shiver of wind; the chill of rain. When the weather turns and the rain lashes into the grass with the sound of knife on steel, he doesn’t get up. How different from me. I can see he has left–or was taken. I take a photo of his bench on the ramparts of time, but I don’t sit on it. Perhaps someday.


Ira WashingtonNo Gravatar June 15, 2012 at 2:50 AM

This romantic picture enabled me to feel the smell of the sea, sitting under the caressing beams of the sun, contemplating the azzure waters and hering the splashes of the waves. Thank you for this trip.

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LindaNo Gravatar June 3, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Never seen the ocean off Scotland that blue, but always imagined it could be that way. Your writing took my breath away.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Scotland has some of the most beautiful blue seas and white sand beaches. If you didn’t know better, you might think it was somewhere in the Caribbean.

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LindaNo Gravatar June 4, 2012 at 4:35 AM

I never thought about it before, but I guess I’ve never been on the Scottish coast in good weather! I went many times (though not in recent years) from being 18 to 40, and most certainly did enjoy great weather a lot of the time, but I guess it was just one of those things that whenever I was on the coast the weather was contrary! I hadn’t realized because I think I don’t have expectations about weather in the UK!

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AndiNo Gravatar June 1, 2012 at 2:49 PM

I feel like I could write a novel sitting on that bench every day!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar June 1, 2012 at 3:17 PM

Maybe I should’ve sat on it…

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KenNo Gravatar May 31, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Sweet.

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