Picture This: A Window into the Past

by Keith Savage · 5 comments


The air shimmers between the glimmering rows of copper goliaths lining the walls of Glenmorangie’s stillhouse. There is an incessant roar, the sound of spirits ascending, and a dry heat floods the space: the last exhalations of the imperfect as it falls from the ethereal. I look up and see a window magnifying the wan light of the overcast Scottish day. Fanciful and alien beasts leap, lithe and graceful, through interlaced vines and knots around a central flock of interconnected, swirling triskelions. I recognize the whole as a reproduction from the Hilton of Cadboll, a local Pictish stone somewhere north of 1,000 years old. 

Amidst the disorienting noise and warm embrace, these evocative designs strike me as ciphers of a forgotten beyond. I am starting to understand that faith is not an exercise of logic, but an overwhelming feeling, a flood that brooks no disbelief. I stand here long after the tour has moved on, shooting photo after photo, vainly hoping each shot might peel back another layer of ignorance, just as I now dig. In the still next to me, spirits float past its small window. Perhaps what the Picts hid in these symbols is less important than their simple invitation to us, to rise.


KenNo Gravatar January 18, 2013 at 7:56 AM

Fine. Very fine. This is a good way to start the day.

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NicoNo Gravatar January 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM

Great photo nice words.

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Gayla~No Gravatar January 19, 2013 at 9:20 AM

I imagine the spirits of the ancestors are ever present there. Beautiful depiction of the Hilton of Cadboll. This post got me researching the history of the mystical Pictish stone. Thank you :-)

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar January 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

There are so many stones with incredible carvings littered throughout Scotland, and we have also nothing to go on toward cracking the code. Such an awesome mystery.

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Marysia @ My Travel AffairsNo Gravatar February 8, 2013 at 5:29 AM

I love windows, I obsessively take pictures of them! :) This one is amazing, love the ornamental design!

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