Closer to the gods than we can dream
An utterly unearthly platform of stone, where sound carries and is hushed all at once.
A place so full of time and space that it leaves us breathless
And there are no words for this view, for these colours and shapes of earth and water melting into sky. This is a place where hard edges and boundaries dissolve like the sands of time, and we know we are utterly alone, and deeply connected in the same breath.
We are beyond imagination, falling into bliss
Only the gravity of the firm rocks keep us from drifting off into space.
If we lie here our bodies might be picked clean of flesh by the mountain birds
Dried by the sun and the wind
And laid to rest beneath hollow cairns of stone
Echoing the shapes of distant peaks.
Time passes slowly on the mountain tops, and the rocks have long memories. Our ancestors walked softly in these high places, carrying stones from the mountains feet back up to her cloud brushed summits. Almost every hill and mountain in Scotland has a cairn because of this ancient tradition, added to by each new generation who step foot on their slopes.
To add a stone to a cairn brings a blessing, but to remove a stone brings ill luck. It is worth remembering to add to the living cairns of others lives when we can. To lift and carry some of the small broken fragments which we might find at their feet, back up to their core. To ease their burden a little, and to find that we leave small stone blessings which might become part of a beautiful beacon to others. After all you can’t and shouldn’t build your own cairn.
These photos were all taken on the cairn field of the Bealach na Ba, the Pass of the Cattle, which connects the remote Applecross peninsula with the rest of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands.