|Arbroath Abbey - a "marker" from another time.|
It is admitted that sometimes we both get overly caught up chasing after the potential "adventures" that await in the world outdoors, and need to be reminded of the nearby evidence of the incredible depth of history that exists in the heart and soul of Scotland.
Having said that, when hill walking in the lonely landscapes, it's easy to be stirred by images of the rough and ready life, countless generations ago in the glens and hills - and my Scottish blood is quite happy to be associated with those "great stalwart men, shaggy, unkempt and wild with a liking for strong drink".
|Donnchadh*, a modern day descendent of the|
"shaggy, unkempt, and wild"...
exiting the chamber for declared lunatics.
(A giant of a man, note how he "towers" in the doorway)
In reality though, I'm a relatively short guy with a close-trimmed beard, an unwarrior-like personality (most of the time), and an aversion to whiskey. But - the day will come. The "shaggy, unkempt and wild" will be back!
Arbroath Abbey is just down the road from where we are in Forfar, Scotland. As the sun set, casting its warm rays on these ancient walls, we felt deeply moved at its immensity and grandeur in an earlier time. The abbey was founded by King William the Lion in 1178 and it was dedicated in honour of St Thomas of Canterbury. In 1320, the Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed and addressed to the Pope with these, among other words:
"For, so long as a hundred remain alive, we will never in any degree be subject to the dominion of the English. Since not for glory, riches or honours do we fight, but for freedom alone, which no man loses but with his life."
Yes, indeed, those words have stirred strong feelings over many centuries - and to this day!
Peeking into a cold, stone-walled "cell", once reserved for those thought to be "mad", I shuddered at the thought of being incarcerated there. I'm sure that the rather unfortunate term, "lunatic", was a more subjective than clinical designation! It is impossible to imagine what life must have been like. You'd have to be more than tough to survive.
|And next door to the ancient abbey,|
21st Century "warriors" ponder
more relaxed battle strategies.
Clearly, we have only so much time here on this fragile planet. It could well be that one day, a thousand years from now, someone might reflect on the "markers" and the words that we early 21st Century inhabitants leave behind - would be wonderful, if what they find, reflects our best efforts and our most honourable aspirations.
Breathless, this time, by an ancient abbey.
*Gaelic, "brown warrior" - gotta like that. :)