Blue Skies Here and There
Autumn is here and it is my favorite season in Goshen. The light is just a little bit different as it makes its way through less leafy tress. The air carries a hint of chill. And out at OxBow park, the grasses rustle with a new song as the wind ruffles their loaded heads. But, tonight, it’s the sky that catches my eye with its clear, deep blue, glowing color. I watch as the blackbirds spin way up high in its depths and I catch my breath as they dive down, sailing across its expanse. I imagine the view they take in. Just like that, I am taking in another view in my mind, with the same clear deep blue sky, in another place and time.
A year ago, we were just coming back from a trip to Scotland. I wanted to show Jim some of the places I experienced when I lived with my parents in Aberdeen. As it turned out, we also took in some new sites. My memory of the place was of gray granite buildings standing in misty rain, people speaking in a heavy Scottish brogue and bright roses on every corner. I warned Jim about the never ending rain and the dampness that gets in your bones, only chased away by a hot cuppa tea and woolen sweaters. On this sojourn, though, the only rain we saw was upon our arrival in Edinburgh and it only lasted a half an hour. From then on, we were embraced by the sun which gave a whole different beauty to the landscape.
Part of the charm of Scotland are its castles. I wanted to get to at least one. So we planned a day to visit those we could find. I saw numerous ones mentioned in tourist write ups but those castles all seemed far away and too formal. So I did what I always do. I went online and searched for local castles, reviewed by locals. One of them caught my eye because it was very close to a road we used every day. It also seemed to be out in the boonies. I did a little more research and discovered it listed on a walking trail site. That sounded perfect: a hike and a castle and a good way to see the countryside.
On a clear sunny day, with that same deep blue sky, we drive on a narrow road to a gravel road. We turn in on a single lane, driving slowly and noticing the pull offs in case we meet an oncoming car. We arrive at a small parking area, in the middle of fields, get out and walk, following the sign. We don’t see any castle, just fields and grazing sheep and a ridge up ahead. All of sudden, as we turn a corner on the footpath, we see it. Its bold silhouette against the blue sky is stunning. We meander on, open and close a gate so the sheep don’t get out, walk along a hedge of ancient trees, and there it stands. Crumbling, but still erect, setting on a carpet of green grass, surrounded by fields of heather. Under this sky, its stones glow with stories of its past. It feels like sacred ground.
I glimpse it for a short second and then I’m back, on the ground, walking the familiar trail at OxBow on this beautiful autumn night. I soak in the blue sky, the sun, and know that somewhere else someone is doing the same.