The firths of northern Scotland tick by like epic mile markers: Moray, Cromarty, Dornoch. Each bridge leads to another span of rugged grasslands and gorse-daubed hills sloping up to the ever-present low sea clouds. On my way to a distillery appointment at Clynelish, I explore the tiny town of Brora on the east coast of the northwest highlands. It doesn’t take long to find an empty stretch of forlorn coastline running north-south far beyond the strength of eyes to see its terminuses. A line of characterful boulders, their angled sides sharp and sheared like petrified gray matter, form a last defense against the daily tide. Looking north, I see every color of the Scotland in my mind: xanadu, slate, ultramarine, periwinkle, fern, feldgrau, mauve, taupe, mustard, and turmeric.
I think I remember clouds flickering the distant sunlight like moths around a lampshade, but this image has left my memory. Some time in the short months that have elapsed since I stood on this spot, I overwrote it. Almost certainly with a memory far more mundane and bereft of the meaningful spark this image holds. Almost certainly by the imperial intrusiveness of a billboard, a commercial, or a jingle. What can be done for my sad, little, overworked gray matter? Maybe to slip the net and disappear into this photo, from time to time.