Thursday, March 06, 2014

Driving to Jupiter

            It was well after ten on a late June evening.  I was driving back to Edinburgh from North Berwick, which is about twenty miles east of the city on the edge of the North Sea.  It was one of those clear-as-day nights we get in Scotland in midsummer, when it never really gets dark.  I could see across the Firth of Forth to Fife and the mountains of Perthshire beyond.  I had the car window right down so that I could smell the poppy-studded hayfields lining the road.  On the car radio Holst’s Planets was being broadcast in a concert and they’d just got to the Jupiter theme.  Suddenly, my right arm was out of the window and I was shouting ‘Yes’ to one.  I felt that if my life had contained only that moment, the brief visit of a mayfly, my time would have been justified.  Early in the morning I had asked myself who there was to praise for the mystery of Being.  Here I was at the end of the day simply giving thanks to the perfumed Scottish night, saying ‘Yes’ to the absence that felt like a presence.  It was enough.

From Looking in the Distance. Richard Holloway

1 comment:

Ben Hur said...

Many years ago in 1987 I stayed at a B'n'B in Berwick-upon-Tweed where the lovely Scottish landlady was hospitality personified. It was a beautiful wee town and there was a small island off from the beach which, or so I was told, inspired R.L. Stevenson to write "Treasure Island". It was a giant leap of the imagination for R.L. to go from a craggy wee island in Scotland to some lonely paradise in the tropical climes.