They are still there


I went to the hills today. It was my ‘usual’: from my front door, two miles of pavement, park and alleyway, before reaching the barricaded car park at Swanston at the foot of the Pentlands. I looked up: the ‘T’ wood that climbs with the contours of the hillside, the crags and scree of Caerketton, and above the trees and the crags and the waterfall of rolling rocks the windy ridge.

I am soon there, standing on the ridge, looking down, looking around, poised on the right side of coldness. A wave of clouds seems about to break on the Moorfoots. The sun shines on the cone of North Berwick Law and the curve of the Lothian shore. The Pentlands spill away to the south, quiet and grey. And north: the cranes and spires of Edinburgh, islands and bridges, and beyond, quite literally in a different realm, a sparkle of snow on Schiehallion.

It is like I am seeing it all for the first time: the familiar is unfamiliar, somehow sharper and redefined by this lofty perch. There will never be enough time to see everything, I realise, and I am both happy and sad at the same time.

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