A Salient Side of Scotland
Something makes me think it was the perfect time to go; it had been a long time coming. Right around the year’s longest day found me a stunningly vibrant, mountainous, great green land in bloom. The long and warm sunlit hours, coupled with the cool breeze made for a sweet spot to be. Clouds rolled overhead to a pleasing tempo of shine and shade. There were sheep out to pasture and rabbits rip-running about. Could this be heaven on earth ?
Up about an hour and a half from Edinburgh is not the Highlands, to be clear. It is on the way. More accurately, it is the town of St. Andrews–home to a university that I heard described once as posh. In fact, it is nestled atop sheer cliffs which illuminate in the long evening hours, before plummeting into an icy black sea. Much of it reminisces from a type of postcard I would forget to buy.
There were some nice beaches and many middle-aged Americans milling about pretty mostly everywhere. In some cases, they had their friends or blithe adult-children in tow. This, in any old town, suggests that things are perfectly nice and normal here. And they seemed to be. More interesting than digging in, however, was journeying further up North, so I did not linger long. A zippy 3 hr train from Edinburgh made for a great ride.
It seems that Scotland’s distinctiveness comes first from its dramatic-and-beautiful landscape, and is then later imbued with the outward extension of sincerity that (if not always easy to read) Scots express readily towards foreigners. This is clearly a place of heritage and pride. Its character is so prominent that it leaves an immediate impression in the mind.
It’s not always that you find places of heritage and pride conveying an image that is precisely welcoming to outsiders–to that which is foreign or different from them. That being the case in Scotland made for an exceptionally un-wasted week of summer, and you can bet there’s got to be so much more. I cannot wait to go back.