May 5, 2006

Scotland, Day 1, Addendum 2


Excerpts from my travel journal--

On the plane to New York--

"I love the feeling of riding buses or walking through the airport with all your luggage. You have absolutely no context-- you could be Anyone doing Anything. When I was a child I used to spend every moment in an airport pretending I was someone else doing something very exciting and important, and today I caught myself doing it again several times. You'd think that starting the journey to Scotland would be enough to keep me in the moment, but apparently it isn't. Ha."

"This is all so unreal. I can't get it through my head that tonight I will go to bed in Edinburgh, walk and breathe in Scotland. I have this feeling like we'll have to go through a wardrobe or down a rabbit hole or something fantastic like that just to get there. Surely one doesn't go to Scotland simply by boarding a plane?"

"We're in the New York airport now, one and a half hours into our our three-hour layover. This place is huge, crowded, and dirty, and the people are rather rude. But it is exciting to sit in a gate where the sign says 'Edinburgh.'
It's dark out, and we walked around the airport until we found a window where we could see the Empire State Building, where we began singing 'An Affair to Remember' and swooning appropriately that we were looking a somewhere Cary Grant had been. I mean, forget the Statue of Liberty... haha."

In Scotland--

"This place is so beautiful. It's craggy and rolley and green-grey-brown and all up-and-downy. The hillsides are tumbley and some of them spring up out of nowhere, just a sudden random hump. The grass (or whatever this stuff on the ground is) is all puffley, which is not a word but sounds like the grass looks. There are crocus and daffodil everywhere, and the fields really are separated by hedges, just like in the picture books and movies. There are low stone walls around everything."

"So now we're lost in a neighborhood in Dunfermline, which I'm actually rather glad of. I like seeing the normal places, where people really live. The houses are tiny, in shape roughly resembling Monopoly hotels. They look like some giant just tumbled them around until they all landed right-side-up. No straight, organized streets here. They have almost no yards, but most do have a small garden or flowerbed. The cars are literally parked on the sidewalk, because there is no room for garages except for in the more expensive homes."

"Edinburgh Castle was an incredible experience. I'm so glad I read all that Scottish history before we came. I was able to understand the significance of it all when they talked about the people who have been here-- Robert Bruce, William Wallace, Oliver Cromwell, William of Orange, the Jameses and Charleses, Mary Queen of Scots, Protestants and Catholics, Hanovarians and Jacobites. To think that I was looking over the same ramparts and climbing the same stairs as all those people!-- it was almost overpowering. And then even aside from that is the wonder of being in a place that has seen so much, and of imagining what it would have been like-- to stand in a window and imagine being imprisoned or besieged inside these walls, or to look over the high windy walls and imagine away the modern city below and see hordes of charging armies approaching. 900 years of history have passed, 900 years of people have stood where I stood this afternoon."


Nomos said...

Very nice, especially that last paragraph. Particularly insightful, I thought, and well written, of course.

rachel tsunami said...
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rachel tsunami said...

It's what Carol Brown (then Dalton)and I expressed to each other in the Smithsonian the very first time we laid eyes on the very flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen "O say, can you see...," and have repeated on equally momentous occasions...(our wedding days, seeing the very bed in which George Washington died, etc...):

"Wow! It's the Real It!"

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. History has such power (and so does your writing).