Our Changeful Northern Skies

Saturday morning, at dark thirty, Tim and I crashed out of the flat and took the bus to Queen Street Station.  Some shuffling with train tickets later, we boarded the train and settled in for a long ride up to Aberdeen.

Due to a diversion, the train took us across Scotland through Linlithgow, Perth, Dundee, Abroath ("Our next stop is Auh-bth"), Montrose, Stonehaven, and a host of other little stops.  By the time we reached Dundee, with the Firth of Tay on our right hand and the climbing hill country on our left, I was yanking my head back and forth so much I wished I were a chameleon. 

We saw the sea under an early morning sky, yellow and pale blue; we saw the lush green pastoral country and the forbidding hills.  We ran through tiny stations and pine woods, and took the steep shore track over sudden rocky drops into the ocean.  When we were not rubber-neckin' at the scenery, we were thrashing each other over rounds of Rummy on the train table between us.

Why buy a boyfriend sweater when I can borrow my husband's?

William Wallace, the Guardian of Scotland.

I don't know what this lion sees, but something is prodigiously disturbing it.

The impressive front of Marischal College.  The Marischal position (keepers of the Honours of Scotland) had been held by a member of the de Keith house since the twelfth century to the Jacobean Revolt, and they have quite a beautiful college to their name!

"Not for oneself, but for all."

King's College, University of Aberdeen.

William Elphinstone, born and educated in Glasgow, Bishop of Aberdeen, founder of the University of Aberdeen.

We went back home under a sea-cloud sky (all the clouds are sea-clouds here: long, sideways-driven things barring the landscape with shadow and light like a peregrine's wings).  So far in the north, the sun never got very high, but it was strong and beautiful after the stormy western coast.  I have always imagined the sentiments Kipling spoke of in "The Roman Centurion's Song."  Now I understand them.

for me this land, that sea, these airs, those folk and fields suffice.
what purple southern pomp can match our changeful northern skies,
black with December snows unshed or pearled with August haze -
the clanging arch of steel-grey March or June's long-lighted days?

4 ripostes:

  1. Yeah, so Furman is pretty and all...but the University of Aberdeen!

    How long did it take you guys, round trip?

  2. It is so pretty there!!! I love the old buildings, and that first college. That would be the best place to go to school I think.
    You saw Wallace's statue!!! I would have fainted on the spot.

  3. You found Bill Allen's grave...spooky! Well, if the weather holds, we'll have to take the train to Aberdeen.

  4. If your desire was to make other Celtic history-lovers positively green in the face with envy, I dare say you succeeded. With flying colours.
    Why, oh, why do plane tickets cost so many arms and legs?!