Picture This: A Portmahomack Seascape

by Keith Savage · 4 comments


Languid waves tumble into the bay of Portmahomack like drunks stumbling in the dark searching for home. The tiny Oystercatcher restaurant stands quiet and dour behind me as I stare across the Dornoch Firth to another spar of the Tarbat Peninsula, to Dornoch town in the distance. All the world’s light held in a steel-gray vice of cloud and sea. The air is heavy with the unborn ocean, ready to descend on the fishing village in a million earthly drops. And with it a kind of atmospheric delirium – this place feels aligned on the axes of epochs. The rare faces that stare from windows are adrift in the surf of time.

There is no record of Saint Colmóc ever having lived in Scotland, yet this town is named for his haven. History is little more than a collage of pockmarked pages and splintered memories, like an armada of wrecked hulls and scuttled arks sunk in an amnesiac sea. This watery veil almost drowns out the foundation lines of an ancient Roman camp, the stone towers of the Iron Age, the graven stones of Pictish masters, the remains of bloody battles between Scot and Viking, between Scot and Scot. There is too much to see even in this narrow band of wan light. It is a drunken space where alchemists are born transmuting the future into the past.


Addison S.No Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 8:23 AM

Wow, your words never fail to inspire the thought of travelling to Scotland. By name only, the Oystercatcher restaurant sounds delicious. How is it up there now? I imagine it must be starting to get a little chilly?

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Hard for me to say as I’m based in Madison, WI. I’ve heard the winter chill has descended on Scotland, though.

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Kay RodriguezNo Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Beautiful writing accompanied by an equally stormy photo. There’s something very unique about the rain, and I think you’ve done a really great job capturing it here. Thank you for sharing with us!

~Kay

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Appreciate the comment, Kay. Thanks and welcome!

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