Ups and downs

I’m keeping myself distracted with my usual sources of inspiration and escape, movies and my books to stop myself from dwelling on things right now; really I’m waiting on a call from home that I don’t want to take. But I can’t stand the lingering limbo my uncle is in now either. My mum told me last night on the phone how poorly he now was; I think she’s trying her best to prepare me for it. I know its coming and she doesn’t really need to, but the fact that she tries, even when she is nursing her terminally ill big brother (who now looks so like his and my mother’s father, my papa, it must make it even harder since she nursed him too) makes me love her so much more.

If I dwell on it I can feel myself ready to buckle, the emotions running so close to the surface, like a river in winter, flowing fast under a seemingly still, frozen surface. So once more my books come to my rescue, a literary landscape composed soley of letters sculpted into every shape, but in little quiet moments you can feel the ice cracking and splintering, the frozen river pushing its way out. I felt it the other morning sitting on the bus on the way to work, not really taking in the book in my hand. It was a very cold morning with freezing fog swirling around Edinburgh; the slowly rising sun wasn’t visible directly, but the fog around the great mass of the Castle was glowing with a diffuse amber light.

Then the bus turned over North Bridge, giving me a view west over the Gardens towards the Castle, the mist lying in the valley of the Gardens and east, out to the Forth and the magnificent view of Arthur’s Seat, a huge extinct volcano right here in our city and the spot where Hutton examined the rocks and started to lay down the rules of the science we now know as geology centuries past. Arthur’s Seat looks magnificent in all weathers, but this morning it looked remarkable. The pale, low, midwinter sunrise struck the crags, turning the cold stone a warm copper, while between the heights the mist had sunk, curling around lower rocks and outcrops and pouring out into the small loch at the base by the Palace like a living creature. It was as if the rocks were breathing and this twisting, low-lying mist was its exhalation, showing sharp in the cold air just as my own breath did. For a little moment I saw magic and beauty in the cold, winter dawn. No one else seemed to lift their heads to look out from the bus and it felt as if the spirit of the rocks had put on a beautiful show just for me.