Autumn in Edinburgh

Some random pictures taken in the last week or so around the city as the leaves fall slowly. The setting sun is so low in the sky now that it glows a deep red; a gorgeous colour as warm as the evning’s now are chill. Like most Scottish cities the buildings here are built of our native-hewn stone rather than dreary bricks (even my humble tenement flat is built of these huge slabs of sandstone).

The sandstone and granite reflects the light throughout the seasons; in high summer they shimmer in the direct sunlight (when we get it of course!); in the winter the silica crystals glitter and shine like little stars in the frosty moonlight. And here in the autumn the ancient stones glow with a warm copper-red light as the long autumnal twilight settles around us, contrasting the golden-red sheen with the lengthening shadows of the setting sun; its the time when the quality of light is astonishing (and these pictures cannot capture what the human eye sees, alas) – it casts an enchantment over everything; when you experience it you realise why our ancestors thought this time was when the faerie folk would emerge from their mounds, it is a very special time of day and year, full of the promise of transition.

A setting star billions of years old, emparting the last warmth of the dying day to stones millions of years old, hewn from our native land, which comprise the buildings centuries old, enjoyed by those passers by who raise their eyes; our existence is so short compared to those stones and stars and yet little magical moments like these make them seem eternal and wonderful. So many people so intent on getting home from work miss these moments around them. Raise your eyes and marvel at the art created by human hand and nature and stand for a moment in the magical twilight. Stop the rush of commuting, the concentration on those little matters that seem to dominate our lives and allow yourself, just for a moment or two, to embrace a little wonder in your daily life. You may be a few minutes later getting home, but your soul will be enriched. When you live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and in one of the most magnificent looking cities it would be a crime to ignore such beauty and delight. Little moments of wonder, folks, that’s one of the small aspects of existence that make our lives worthwhile. These little magical theatres act out their plays over millennia but we only experience them for a briefm lfeeting moment; enjoy that moment; if, as the old poem put it, we can see eternity in a grain of sand imagine how much more we can see in the glow of setting sunlight through a copper burnished leaf.