Friday, May 30, 2014

Consider The Lilies

30th May, 2014

Oh, stay, May, stay! I hate to see it go! It's the honeymoon after the snow ceremony of winter. The hummingbirds sweep back in with their high-pitched whistle, busy in the branches with blossoms and in my potted geraniums. It rains and the earth is all green and damp smell like the first wet garden. The swallows, earth's ultimate optimists, swoop into the black smudge of flies that hovers over the ground. And all over, the rodents have emerged and are scurrying among the lush grass, sitting back on their hind legs every so often to turn between their fingers an ancient piece of grain. Life has overcome death once more and is bursting at the seams. Nothing can stop the spurt. The grass will grow, without even thinking about it. Consider the lilies.

Consider the daffodils. I used to lie with my head in hosts of golden daffodils when I was young and romantic and not a care in the world except for finding a boy to love me. The smell of those flowers up close in Scottish moss and soil stays with me always and informs the sentences I lay down, like the drone on bagpipes hums in the back of pipish melodies. Scotland is a thing that hums in the background of me, and I am thinking more and more these days of moving back.

See this sign for Dunadd Fort, the setting for my novel Veil Of Time? It appeared on Twitter this last week because my agent was travelling around Scotland and dropped in on Dunadd (quite a drop, since it is far from the beaten track.) You might think it looks rather grey in that picture - but this counts for good weather there, because on balance it is more blue than grey, so I should say he visited this magical place on a good day.  Often it is pelting down on that mound of rock where my story takes place, and before that where part of my own story took place. Dunadd. Doon-ad, as it is pronounced in Gaelic, the original language of Scotland. It is a damp corner of the world, boggy when it rains, overgrown with heather and bracken, pungent in any weather. It's a time warp in itself and has nothing about the Christian era about it. My ancestors were up there worshipping the goddess before the stories of Bethlehem and Galilee, tattooing their skin and carving their totems into the rock. Now that we live in a post-Christian era (so said the Archbishop of Canterbury lately!) nothing has changed. Perhaps the spirit of the place is able now to give out a sigh. Another era of man come and gone.
May we do better in the next.

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