The trappings of civilization, scant as they are in Scotland’s northwest highlands, disappear beneath my tires like fog from a loch glowing in the rising sun’s light. The coast and the hamlet of Clynelish fade away behind the hills draped in slow, shadowy blankets. Scotland’s northern lights perform a daily ballet on the highland hills, undulating like waves across the bald ridges and sweeping glens. I pass Loch Brora and delve deeper into lands with names few tongues have graced: Sciberscross, Tannachy, Rhilochan. I park the car again and again to step into the nourishing silence and feel the grass beneath my hands.
This is not how the hills looked in their youth. Thick forests would have hidden their cliffs and culverts, masked their severity. Now they are cloaked in green and white and crowned in purple and gold. Every scar on the landscape naked, every story spilling its tale upon the viewer. I repeat my mantra; it is neither good nor bad, it just is. Rosy retrospection and nostalgia have become such exhausting companions, especially here, in this beautiful place. I will off them when the shadows pass over me, and the Scottish northern lights will dance upon their headstones that read: Memoria Praeteritorum Bonorum.