Nothing quite revives our sense of imagination as wild landscapes and the beauty of nature. Today I am writing to you all from the Cairngorms National Park, Scotland. I’ve only been here a few days and already I feel very alive and so thankful to witness the treasures of our world.
Having lived and worked the majority of my life in London, it can be easy to get swept away by the pace of life and frivolities it offers. As I have grown older and moved away from the capital to a quaint English village, I have come to love the beauty of silence and being amidst the life of trees and wildlife. Being in touch with nature brings about a great sense of peace. Upon touching down in Aberdeen airport and spending time with family, it became evident to me how even my quieter way of living is still pretty fast paced. I still often rush around as I walk, rather than enjoying a leisurely ramble.
Many high roads and low roads later, away from the city of Aberdeen, we are well within the Cairngorms National Park. Old fashioned sweet shops, independent stores and gallery cafés, churches with proud looking turrets, hanging baskets filled with bright coloured flowers adorning almost every doorway, and people enjoying the spectacularly bright and clear (and rare) weather; we are well and truly experiencing village and town life at its finest.
Away from habitation, the currents of many lochs flow, flouting their majestic nature silently. Upon the Loch An Eilein a beautiful castle ruin stands alone on an island in the middle of the water. Surrounding it are fresh green pine trees, shining from the morning rain. Lower to the ground, in the shallows of the water stand the yellowest buttercups, the dew sitting like teardrops upon their petals.
Further afield on a castle mound, stands the ruins of the Ruthven Barracks. Cloaked in history, it was built almost 300 years ago and destroyed in 1746 by the Jacobites after the Battle of Culloden. It used to house some 120 men and their horses. Now it sits derilict, its worn down walls the only remaining witnesses to the violence of the old battlefields upon which it stands.
A funicular train ride up the blue mountains, the Scottish mist toys with its tourists as we all search for the views of the valleys below. Finally the clouds open up and give us a glimpse of the raw, untamed life below. Loch Morlich sits almost centre of a picture perfect view. Roaming hills, green and yellow stand out in contrast to the bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
The grand views are so spectacular that it would be easy not to spot the intricacies of the nature that makes up the landscape. I enjoy witnessing the patterns of the pine leaves; two fallen pine cones positioned perfectly upon the ground as if they were a decoration for a Christmas tree; the root system of a tree growing beyond the edge of the land upon which it stands; the sounds accompanying sunrise by the loch – the insects beating their wings and the birds singing their morning song whilst the waters lap against the rocky shore. Finally, the sighting of a fluffy bumblebee sitting upon Scotland’s national flower, a bright pink-purple headed thistle.
Amongst nature, we regain our roots and the heart of who we are. The loud entertainments within life take us away from the stillness and calm of our hearts. Some of us fear to spend any time just being instead of doing. As I finish this post having witnessed the sun rising by Loch An Eilein, I feel a great sense of peace. All around me I sense home. All within me, I am home. It is a wholeness that only the stillness of nature can bring: the deepest sense of peace.