Wednesday, July 13, 2016

O Flower of Scotland

Here. I am here. I walk along a lane as it leads me through the hills and grass and flowers of the Scottish countryside. I hear a distant train running down a faraway track. What it carries I know not, but in my mind it bears within it…my past. On the rails it carries the heritage of my family. I hesitate and strain to listen as it
grows ever quite. The land grows still and on the silence of the wind come the ghosts of Glen Coe. The ghosts of a bygone time. It is their lonely whispers in the breeze which cross the Moor and ring heavy in my ears and in my soul. I came here, to this place, to this country, to bear the unfettered burden of my ancestors. Paisley, Scotland it was, where my family tree had derived. A long line ‘cross seas and borders, intermingled with a history and a people from other nations. But the blood of the Scots is the sound and the power which calls to me; today and yesterday and tomorrow. It is the sound I hear inside of my mind. It is the sound I hear in my very being which yearns to answer a grandfather’s call. It is here that I have come to listen to the land as it sings to me. It is here I have come to feel the deep calling of the heritage which beats incessantly inside my heart. And it is here that I lay down the heavy burden of the vanished and take up the pure, unadulterated joy of knowing that the lineage of these hills and of its people, courses through my veins.
Here. I am here. The trail before me steep, seeped in the aura and the gloaming of a late afternoon sun, struggling to penetrate the ever present mist. Seeped in the joy of all the common folk who cross my path. And it is that to which I write today. It is that which I presently came upon: the track, the rock strewn hill, the Devils Staircase, The West Highland Way. My journey intersects with theirs. It intersects not just with the enduring call which I hear inside my head,
not just with my own heart’s blood, but with the others whom chose to make this sojourn; the Scots whom walk along the land as I am. Souls not of the past, but of the present. Scots one and all. I gather with them atop the highest hill. I break bread with them on the mountainside;
adrift with fog and camaraderie and laughter. My mind soars above the atmosphere, my feet carry me forward; alongside, along the trail, along my heart’s desire. My day is filled with blissfulness.

Here. I am here. We came as one down the mountainside. We came with happiness in our hearts, a lightness in our steps, and with songs on our lips. Some I knew, others I did not. But, no matter. A lull, a brief pause erupts, but then, as if the universe cast down upon that hill for all to hear, and feel, and sing; a new song begins. Softly at first. Then, it lifts into the hillside, back towards the heavens from which it fell. The voices forge, joining until all the different idioms, styles, and tones become one in unity and solidarity. The words
lift and echo the past, the pride, and the heritage of the ages. O Flower of Scotland rang true. And I was moved. Walking, as if to march, as if honor were the wings upon our boots. As one voice we make our way down toward the
village; toward the warmth of fires, cold beers and stories yet to be told. To my soul I shout, “I am home!” Tears well from my eyes as a spring wells up from the earth. I walk, I sing, I smile. I, the outsider, brought lovingly into the fold of my heritage. I was welcomed with open arms by the people of Scotland, welcomed by my brethren. And I was happy. The song, long finished, still rings in my ears, my heart, my soul. And there it shall forever stay. Forever heard. Forever loved. Forever remembered. Forever…Scotland.

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