Picture This: Autumn Equinox Beyond the Ring of Brodgar

by Keith Savage

Audio accompaniment

Summer’s grip slips from the world’s northern rim. Standing on an archaic emerald archipelago as the day, packed beneath colorless clouds, suddenly burns with vespertine brilliance. Blades of equinoctial light slash the overcast sky into blue ribbons and send black shades stretching from Brodgar’s obstinate stones. A golden pall falls upon the Ness of Brodgar, and the wind, feeling its impotence, disappears like the last bedeviling sorrows scrabbling for our strands.

Salt Knowe rises west of the standing stones, a mound curious for its height and apparent lack of purpose. As I turn toward the season’s parting kiss, that purpose appears stark. A shadowy figure stands at Salt Knowe’s apex watching the changing of the celestial guard. I freeze, speechless as the sullen wind. A primordial memory impossible to articulate surfaces, one tethered to place but not time. I manage to lift my camera to the light. I manage to mount the photo above my desk. I manage to fall through its frame into that limbo of gauzy green and gold, distant blue and black, momentary orange and purple. Sometimes I even manage to remember that moment’s thrill vibrating between the seasons, like my bones jittering between the dark aeons separating lives.

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