I would imagine that for most people returning to their childhood home is like stepping back in time, and it’s certainly the case for me. I was privileged to have spent my childhood roaming the hills and forests of the Scottish Highlands, the memories of which I carry with me to this day, and this summer I came back to my childhood home for an extended stay. It’s been the longest I’ve been here since leaving home at the age of 17, and wherever I go it’s like lifting the lid on a Pandora’s box of memories and feelings from all those years ago.
Aside from my own history, the area is flecked with leftovers from all sorts of events from throughout time. The ravages of the Ice Age are still visible, as well as traces of life lived on a smaller scale by generations past, and I think you could spend a whole lifetime here and still feel that you are only passing through.
The air here is unbelievably pure, a testament to which is the abundance and variety of lichens, which grow indiscriminately on anything that doesn’t move for any length of time.
Even the most everyday of objects gain an air of bearded ancientness and grandeur when claimed by the gnarly spread.
Perhaps it’s the plethora of relics from other times which lie scattered around, or maybe it’s the dizzying effect of the air, but there’s something about this place that distorts your sense of time, where past blurs with present, and a whole day can disappear in a heartbeat.
Forget about clocks and calendars – here time is measured by Nature.
As summer dwindles, blossom gives way to green seed-filled pods that blacken and rattle like dry bones in the early autumn chill.Red berries are now lush and ripe on the rowan trees, heralding the impending departure of the swallows, which have wheeled and dived in the skies the whole summer.
By now the broom’s black pods are snapping open in the warmth of the few sunny days that remain, and the leaves on the trees are unmistakably beginning to turn to red and gold.
I’m starting to think that perhaps that’s my signal to fly back to my home in sunnier climes.