Year: 2020

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Where We Are (Minnesota Lakes)

When I wrote last, I think the world felt a bit like the calm right after an orchestra has tuned and has lifted their bows, and now we are in a full-on crescendo. Everything has gotten louder. We feel a collective anxiety and uncertainty like never before, and by moment I wonder if I have too many thoughts or too few, if I am not taking this seriously enough or am taking it too seriously. Several weeks ago, we were in northern Newfoundland on vacation, feeling the last sense of freedom, and…

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The Hill in a City (Edinburgh)

The world feels a bit loud and scary and uncertain right now, and although I don't like to admit it, the thought of being afraid to travel is unfamiliar. I was supposed to be in Austin today, wearing a dress that my arms could feel the sun in, but plans were cancelled abruptly on Friday. We are still supposed to board a plane in two days, and I am trying to remember what life was like 3 weeks ago, before I thought about sanitizing my tray table and arm rests. And so it is that looking back at…

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Queen of our Hearts, St Andrews

To me, where I am so much weaves into who I am. What I am noticing is what is important and what makes life into a something. And our years living in Scotland were so very rich in time to pay attention, to feel the wind blow into one ear and straight out the other, watch the sands river off the coast. We'd been yearning for a visit, and with 5 years distance from our last, it was well overdue time for a return to the place of autumn's early twilight and still-bright grass: St Andrews, where we…

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Hiking Killiehuntly, Highlands

The winter has not been long, and I think for the first time, I have realized how much I love this season, when life is simpler and quieter. But sometimes, still, even in the calm, when I see my face after the day, I wonder: where are the promised green pastures? Where is the rest that metaphor implies?  And then I think about a green pasture and the buzzing of activity, the frenzy of growth, and the bright sunshine and think: ok, maybe that will come someday, but today, this Scottish…

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Full Day on the Farm, Highlands

What makes the Scottish highlands so endlessly magnetic is not only the wildness, and seemingly untouched landscape, but how the land holds secrets. The land itself hides vast plots behind steep hills, so every small step can yield a whole new view. A hidden present. Our trip to Scotland in November's goal was to explore new areas of the Highlands we hadn't yet been. When I read about the work of WildLand, a non-profit funded by a generous family from Denmark, whose mission is "to preserve as…

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Killiehuntly, a Place as Beautiful as It Sounds

I think often of the sorrow of leaving a place I love, whether I have just grown to feel so, or been in its presence for years of my life. In many ways, every place I've lived is inside who I am, and I carry that with me. And also, every place I've visited feels that way, too. When I don't expect, in the middle of a work meeting, one single impression will be in my mind as if I'm there: the evening light, the glow after the early sunset in Scotland.  It is rare to see the orb sink itself,…

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Croick and Glenmorie, Scotland

During our stay at the blessedly peaceful Alladale in the wilds of the Scottish highlands, more than 3 people (which was most of the people we saw) recommended a visit to the Croick Church, which was just an hour walk over the short hill.  We planned to visit on our last morning, but the damp had saturated the ground, so we drove around instead, to find the both the coldest and most serene church we have ever discovered. Only used occasionally now, the church, built in the 1820s, is noted…

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Autumn in the Glens of Alladale

When I am imagining and building a trip from pictures and imaginations and urges, these days much of that is for wildness and open air. Space for the winds to blow and be seen in the grass. No humans for as far as my eyes can stretch. It was on this type of hunt, I went down rabbit trails of reviews, pieces of media, and snippets from social, and somehow, this all led me to Alladale Wildness Lodge, which I started mentioning in the previous post. Alladale's owner and staff have been working…

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January, Virginia and Spontaneity

January brings a surprise: I like it. After the rush of the holidays, the vacuum of space is a new, and, despite the regularity, unexpected gift. Time to invite friends by for brownies, without planning the occurrence months ahead. Time to go on walks without our phones. To notice the baguette bag floating down the sidewalk, the new paint coating half the manhole cover, the oddities that flash by and then are forgotten. Today: a man brushing his teeth walking down Houston Street. And in the…

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Bonnie, bonnie Scotland

As the year draws sleepy here into a new, this blog now returns to its homeland, where it originated and whence it was born: Scotland. 10 years after we met, we returned in November for calm, wildness, and time with the dearest of friends.  I had arrived in London about 5 days before Walker, and took a tour de friends: meeting up with so many in London, Leeds, Edinburgh and St Andrews. I took trains each step and met Walker up in the capital of the north of Scotland: Inverness.  The…