I lived in Scotland in the early 1990s. Because I got in trouble in the Balkans after that, mainly because I was becoming too radical, I was forced back to the U.S., my passport taken from me, and a government-controlled dark cloud hung over me for a good ten years.
They couldn’t take my memories or the familiar smells that had filled my nose then and still do today. Maybe the Balkans was not a particularly bright move for me, but leaving Oyne in Aberdeenshire was, for my heart, a tragic, tragic loss.
We lived in a croft within walking distance of Bennachie. We were near a burn that ran right up the side. Until living there, I thought faeries were a myth. Not so. They lived along the burn, between it and the walking path. I saw them. They may be mythical creatures, but this was, indeed, a mythical habitat, lush and green and peaceful.
Our neighbors had coos. Lots of them. They became my friends. We talked every morning. If anyone claims heeland coos are numpties, they havenae had a chat with them. Ever.
We walked just about everywhere. Any other time we took the No. 7 into Inverury. Mostly that was to get groceries, visit the library, and see a few people my friend knew.
I loved the foggy mist. I thought for the longest time that nowhere else in the world could produce such a life affirming atmosphere. To be honest, I’ve never found it anywhere else. Not like this. It rolls down the mountain, crawls across the flat land, and envelopes you in its wondrous embrace. You cannot escape, nor do you have any desire to escape. Once it has hugged you lovingly, it rolls on. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to feel it again.
Another time I’ll talk about the people I met and how they have shaped my life since.