If time is really a river
and upstream's where he needed to be...
- from a Colin Raye song, "The time machine".
|The Nether Largie standing stones...|
evidence of human hopes and dreams of 4000 years ago?
Kilmartin Glen, to the south of Oban, is a haunting landscape, arguably one of the richest in prehistoric artifacts as any place in Europe. In the quiet, green pastoral fields lie abundant evidence of those who traveled the same course around the sun as we all do this very day. Somehow, these Neolithic and Bronze Age people still "live and breathe" in the cairns, the stone cists or coffins, and the standing stones that they left behind over 4000 years ago.
How these ancient monuments have survived so long is unimaginable. Not much else does. What they truly signify may never be known. To simply stand near them is to be transported "upstream"...to a distant past.
|Joan (left) gives scale to these magnificent standing stones.|
|The 12m stone circle, with buriel cist at Temple Wood.|
|The most northerly of a series of Bronze Age |
chambered cairns, the Kilmartin Glebe Cairn.
And we weren't alone...
Shaggy "sentinels" of the glen keep watch.
|Here's lookin' at you! "Ram tough"? This full time resident|
of the Kilmartin Glen appeared pretty relaxed to us.
|Atop the Dunadd Hillfort Crag...|
the view alone is worth the slippery scramble in a hail storm.
The Summit Slab is in lower right.
|A closer look at the Summit Slab, with carved footprint...|
|...and still closer.|
|I had to know...|
the sense of mystery and awe will last forever.
|Humbled by the thought of those who had stood in this very place.|
A familiar "thump thump thump thump", however, eventually broke the spell...but although such experiences are "transient", they remain, in all the ways that matter, forever.
|From the top of Dunadd...it's back to the present.|
Could those ancient people ever have imagined such a sight before the setting sun?
I think about those that lived in this very place, 4000 years ago. They had hopes and dreams and they struggled to survive in a world unimaginable to most of us. They shared triumphs as well as tragedy. They too probably sought shelter from the storms...but they had fewer places to hide away. I have a sense that it was their cherishing of "community", their shared lives, and their dependence on one another that was key to their longevity over thousands of years. It was probably all about the community. It's "community" that we need to nurture - positive and affirming engagement beyond tribe or clan, language and nationality, faith and politics - and in ways that benefit and enrich us all.
We also need to simplify our lives and take pleasure in the beauty of nature and all that she offers - on both the calmest and the stormiest of days.
Somehow, this hotel lounge / bar now feels so far from where we need to be. Comfortable? I suppose. But only for for the purpose of brief respite and yes, internet connection.
There are so many more lessons to be learned in this wildly beautiful place and in the wind and the rain - outside. :)