The Loch around Linlithgow Palace was drenched in low golden light, and the shadows flowed like dark ink on the water. Bathing in the suns gold were impossibly graceful clusters of white feathers. Royal swans, as elegant as ballerinas, delicately accepted food at the waters edge. They dripped beauty from every quill, their heads on slender necks turning to gaze towards us.
Beneath the glittering surface, dark secrets drifted in the hidden currents. Ghosts and shadows past haunt this loch, where Royal Queens were birthed and betrayed. They tugged at the swans feet, pulling them back towards their tales, myths from a golden age still rippling in the water.
Were these elegant beauties descendants of the royal children, cursed by a jealousy ridden stepmother. Doomed to float into eternity on these cold windswept waters, winter after winter. They gather close, and there’s warmth and affection in their gestures, and in their haunted eyes. Too beautiful for this world they swim towards the light.
We see a gateway, it’s form revealed by two trees and their shadows. Light pours through into this world, carrying stories as wild and beautiful as the swans. Tales filled with love and betrayal, and the beating of human hearts. If you listen softly you might catch its threads fluttering in the chill wind of the turning year. Here the beautiful Princess Mary Stewart was born, her mother looking out across these waters as she nursed her new born babe, centuries ago.
The dogs pull me back into the present with their hot breath and insistent noses. They have tales of their own to weave, running through the fallen leaves and the long shadows down towards the waters edge. Tales of today and the warm scent of soft animals. We turn and follow the leaf strewn path into the future, feeling it roll out under each footstep. The dogs lead us forwards with their wagging tails and boundless enthusiasm for life, and the past dissipates in soft receding echoes.