A couple of months back, in the short space of four days, I was able to rekindle that warm, soulful realisation.
With friends, I travelled to one of the many western peninsulas of Scotland, to a small cottage overlooking Loch Sween: a narrow stretch of water outlining several inlets. There was a jetty; from the rocks there I watched the tide come in, and absorbed the painted, raging colours of the ephemeral sunsets that soon enough, faded away into a deep midnight blue. Before the light faded each evening, for what seemed like a fleeting moment, everything in view was etched with a delicate, golden lining of light. Everything in those moments was still.
We swam in the freezing cold sea, saw seals, went on long walks in wellington boots, laughed in the rain, found an abandoned boat shed hidden in the overgrown verdure of early summer, ran and stumbled on rocks, saw the mountains of Jura (the island where Orwell wrote 1984!), got left on an island travelled to by boat; it was pure wonder, and I would not have changed any of it for the world. And for that, I am most grateful.
I found myself rummaging through one of my mom’s old boxes, when I came across some of her travel memoirs from two decades back. Packed in a grey, dull looking box, I initially put it aside. I eventually opened it, and I found photographs. They were in the form of slide pictures – the kind that are inserted into a projector, so they can be displayed for the world to see.
They were beautiful; a hundred photographs from the unknown land of Petra, Jordan – a place I long to visit. Rustic, sandy and arid colours were exposed, with a wave of reticence. These photos were concealed away in the depths of her memories. I sat qualmishly for a moment, hesitant, wondering whether I should have seen these pictures of her travel memoirs.
I don’t think my photographs or words will do them justice, but here are some of my favourites with a collection of my thoughts.
The boy in the photograph reminds me of a young character in ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, by Khaled Hosseini. (I’ll be writing more about that marvellous book soon!)
Photography – sometimes considered a menial and an all-too-common pastime, but there’s something about the reveries and pleasant thoughts that something so small can leave you in. I can only wish to capture photographs with so much meaning and emotion, as my mom did.