Close

My Heart’s in the Highlands

Breath swirls around in the air, drifting up towards the misty clouds which are so close you could almost touch them. The sky is low in my homeland, the moon is closer and there are stars everywhere. Sometimes when I peer out of my little window at night, it’s as if the moon is perched on the church spire, it’s that close. And my family are right there, not inside my computer or composed of a little grey-haired emoticon that represents my Dad and a smiley with rosy cheeks that represents my Mum’s smile (the people who live in my phone). They are real, the way it’s supposed to be. When my sister and me laugh so hard we cry actual tears and can share the moment together, not just a typed ‘LOL’.  Being home is so good. It’s a constant whirlwind of childhood memories and dusty books brimming over with fairy tales from days gone by. And it’s cosy, everywhere, even when it’s freezing cold outside. There are arguments and love, all squashed next to each other on the little sofa. No grudges are held, hugs are tight and at the end of the day we always go to bed with a kiss and a “goodnight grumpy”. That’s family for you, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Nor would I change my country, except maybe a bit more sun and independence, but let’s not go there. Scotland is seriously the most beautiful place, even in the darkest depths of winter when the sun only rises at 9 am and sets again just after your mid-afternoon cup of tea. Those mystical, rain-drenched clouds splattered against the midnight-black sky, it’s beyond picturesque. See it for yourself. There really is something magical about Scotland, in all its chilly glory. The dramatic peaks of the highlands iced with frosted snow, flakes flurrying around your freckled nose, the gothic architecture sprinkled around the cities, cobbled streets for days, smiles so genuine you’ll never want to leave, and of course the laughter that pierces the air so poignantly and instantly makes you feel so warm you could almost be home.

It goes deeper than just a flag, a place of birth on your passport or a sweet spot for a wee dram of whisky. It’s a place that can overwhelm you again and again, and then some. Flutes and folk music flirt with the trees, that in turn dance with everyone they meet on the street. Strangers hug at the stroke of midnight, entire flights of passengers laugh and sing and banter all the way to their final destination. People might complain in this land, but their friendly, kind faces give way to something more. It’s a country with an unbelievably brave heart, a history, culture and traditions that live on even today. It makes you feel light and free to walk on its earth, earth that is honest and rich and filled with stories and secrets and legends that will never die, no matter how much time passes.

Scotland, I am so happy and proud to be able to call you home, and happy birthday to Robert Burns for yesterday. Here is a poem by him that pretty much sums it up…

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands wherever I go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *