Thursday, October 14, 2010


Life has given me plenty to cry about and more than enough to laugh about. It has rarely given me too many friends.

So many times I have sat in the dark listening to the music no one else could hear. When I accepted that no one else could hear it and decided to listen, it changed to voices and back to music. Now, I listen to the silence that exists in that space that used to hold noise. The silence that Confucius assured me is the 'language of God'.

Through circumstances, I have had a period of no TV and no computer at home placed on me. No phone, no barking Ed, rarely music. Far from being the isolating event I thought it would be, it has pulled me together. There is the silence of the cats, of the night, of storms, of the house and of my coffee pot. Each is different in it's quality of silence. All are deep silences; there is something there to listen to.When it has centered me, I can go out and listen with more attention and less pain. Except for Sunday.

I am taking a break from the adventures in Scotland today. The weather last night makes me homesick for it. On some little spit of land at John o' Groats, there is a statue dedicated to the Scottish people who have had to migrate west to the Americas over the centuries when the King hunted them or the land failed them. And let's face it, when their own wars drove them out. A man and boy face directly into the west, striding forward valiantly in hopeful desire. The woman, with her hand on her son's shoulder, clutches the shawl tossed over her head and faces the dawn. Her face is shadowed by her flying hair and she is barefoot, looking, full of sorrow back to the village she is leaving. Spray from the Atlantic booms and paws at the cliff below them. Their statues are never free from rain or ocean, and only rarely from ice. Only puffins visit here every year on their annual migration, and the few who visit Skara Brae. Those Scottish looking back.

Wikipedia states, "In all cases, the term diaspora carries a sense of displacement; that is, the population so described finds itself for whatever reason separated from its national territory, and usually its people have a hope, or at least a desire, to return to their homeland at some point."

The Scottish have a lot of jokes about the disbursement of the Scottish across the globe over the centuries. In the 1950's, Jewish author Harry Golden speculated that the Presbyterians were the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Presbyterians joke about once being the 'frozen chosen' now being the 'hot Scots' (see my post about the Scottish love of Florida.) The Scots, for the most part, love the longing that brings the displaced home again, to face what was, what could have been, and what is. We buy remnants to take home to others displaced: tins of haggis, sweaters, pictures and memories. We are lucky. Scotland is still one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We can sigh and come home happy, still longing. I don't know of any other nation who is so lucky.

Next: Less Nostalgia, More Haggis    OR   Less a Spilling of Guts Than an Eating of Them.

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