Sunday, August 08, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 & Scotland the Brave

Regarding Michael Moore's movie, if you haven't seen it yet, you need to. TRUST me. :)

Now then, I just got back from a wonderful vacation in Scotland, which included Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Banff & Macduff, and the Orkneys. I was very much focused on ancient monuments...which is interesting because my album's going to be called Not Made of Stone, but I was intent on photographing things that were made of stone, in Scotland. I visited Rosslyn Chapel (mysteriously carved stone), 6 stone circles in Aberdeenshire, and 6 ancient monuments on West Mainland Orkney, including Skara Brae, Unstan Cairn, Maeshowe, the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brogar, and Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn.

It was so moving finally to see Skara Brae, after writing my piece about it in 1995, and always hoping to see it. It's well cared for by Historic Scotland, but that gives it kind of an antiseptic, unreal quality, the way the grass is kept closely clipped, and the way it's surrounded by explanatory markers. I know it has to be done in order to preserve it. I really learned a lot, and there was a lot of energy to be sensed from the ruins themselves and from Skaill Bay. Skaill House, the home of the laird who build the seawall to protect Skara Brae after it was discovered in 1850, is right nearby and can be seen in the background of one of my photos.
The Ben Nevis & Glen Coe area was glorious to drive through. It's quite a thing how the mountains there look as imposing as anything we have in California, and yet when you look at the map, they're all only about 1,000 feet high! When I go back, I'm definitely staying in the Orkneys longer, plus longer stays in Banff/Macduff and Aberdeen. Those were the places I really connected with the most.Having only just gotten over that trip, I'm off early Wednesday morning for Nashville to attend the NFA convention. I'm not performing this year, just hangin' out and volunteering and hoping to sell a flute.

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