So, while this one is about travel and photographs and the beautiful Scottish coastline, it’s also about perceptions and expectations and even illusion. I saw something, thought it was one thing, and came to the slow incredulous realization of what I was really seeing.
Though I’ve traveled a lot and seen amazing sights, I grew up landlocked. My first thought when I saw this out the car window was that it was simply fields I was seeing, looking down from a fabled Scottish “high road”.
I kept looking, thrilled with the view, almost not quite weirded out by something I couldn’t put my finger on. Stopped on the side of the road, I stood there for a while, gazing my fill of what I finally understood. These charming Scottish fields, with the farmhouse taking its place among the green and brown, were on and at the extreme edge of a high, high cliff that abruptly dropped off the edge of what seemed to be its world. But, no! Its world actually extended to infinity… or pretty darned close as earthly confines go. A single step off that cliff would take the stepper into air, then water, then if he survived on into a swim to the horizon and beyond.
Further along there sits a village, complete with lighthouse, clinging through storms and strife and war to the edge of Scotland, gracing it with simple beauty. Again looking as if it perches on the very edge of the world. Precarious to look at, yet enduring time we don’t know how to measure in our young old America.
And then, as the road unfurls to reveal its many glorious secrets, it winds along in such a way that I finally have the bigger picture. This way the more panoramic view shows the clifftops, some dressed in lovely vegetation so near the cultivated rectangles of green crops and raw earth waiting to burst forth with its own garment of green, the slopes reaching toward barely visible hints of rocky coast, and the great wide sea tumbling against the shoreline, while alternately yearning toward the horizon and beyond.
I still marvel at the way I thought at first that I merely saw fields and sky and hinted horizon. If I had really looked with the eyes of a world traveler instead of the impacted gaze of a landlocked child, I would surely have noticed the waves in the “sky”.
That’s the coolest thing about that experience. Now I know to look for the waves in the sky. Wherever I may be.