Monday, 5 November 2007

Sweet solitude

I finally got round to installing my old hard drive (called "Dave", as I realised when I got it set up) onto my new computer at the weekend, with a bit of guidance from a friend. Well, when I say "new" computer, I've had it since January. Anyway one of the main reasons for this is that I've got lots of music files on there: now I can listen back to them or rework them using better software than I had previously.

I spent much of yesterday transferring the files and listening to a lot of them, and there were so many things I''d worked on - half finished ideas, most of them - that I'd forgotten about. It was a genuine (and thankfully not unpleasant) surprise when I heard them again.

The other good thing was that on the same hard drive were some photographs of a holiday a few years ago: I went with a few friends to Mull, and found it to be one of the most beautiful places I've been to. When I came across these photographs I lapsed into silence, I was immediately transported back there.

I remember really enjoying and appreciating the company of my friends, but I remember also just how much the wide open spaces, often breathtaking scenery and surprisingly mild weather (we went in February) really lent itself to blissful solitude.

Outside our accommodation (it's there in the photograph at the end), all was silent, save for the cry of an owl late at night. In the evenings, we would all sit around the huge table in the magnificent dining room to drink, talk and to have good food. It was amazing, it felt like we were in a castle and we had it all to ourselves.

At some point each evening I would take a walk outside on my own for a short while (a bit like Captain Oates without the snow or the heroics) and would unfailingly feel a wave of emotion hit me, such was the incredible stillness. The echoes in the little valley; the last vestige of the evening sunlight; the gentle, soothing lapping sounds of the water: it was all so uncomplicated, each little detail or event really moved me.

People often talk about how open spaces, incredible vistas, areas of natural beauty can make them feel humbled, puny, worthless even. This wasn't like that: it was calming, comforting and sometimes just a little melancholic. Out here was somewhere I could just be, and I was sorry to have to leave.

Thanks (in part) to these photographs, the memories are stronger again.

20 comments:

lavenderblue said...

Lovely,just lovely !
Thank you for sharing this,trousers.

trousers said...

No problem lav. Have you ever been there?

lavenderblue said...

No,but now I want to !

Anonymous said...

It's old Dave the hard drive that does it you know in those wide open spaces.
ahkuph

szwagier said...

Mull's good. I prefer Skye, though (although since they built the damn bridge it doesn't feel quite so much like an island.

The mountains are something else.

Blancmange, perhaps.

All of these fields are optional.

szwagier said...

oops.

)

Merkin said...

Fine photos which were very evocative for me.

As a student, I spent one Summer working as a labourer on the building of the ferry pier between Fionnport and Iona.
Saved enough to buy my first real electric - a Guild CE 100D.

Magic time living in a tent half way up a mountain as we wanted to be away from the workers camp.

Must fling up a couple of Mull stories from the Legion there is.

trousers said...

I haven't been to Skye (resists temptation to say "but I've been to me"), szwag, though friends of mine have. I'd like to go.

The bunch that I went with, a core group of us went to different parts of Scotland each year in February - fantastic time to go for all sorts of reasons.

I must have made use of your handiwork then merk, since we did go to Iona for the day. Maybe I'll post some pictures up from there too (I've got one of John Smith's grave, I could call it The Death of Old Labour or similar), mind you this is rapidly becoming a photoblog the way things are going...

But Why? said...

Lovely ;ictures. I want a holiday...

trousers said...

Don't we all, but why?: want a holiday that is...

Glad you like the pictures. They also serve as a reminder to me not to forsake my trusty SLR now that I've got my digital camera.

Pixie said...

dave? dave,..... you have a serious problem you know.... dave???
pxx

szwagier said...

Actually, even better is Rum, not 'Rhum', as the heathens have it. One road, one shop, loads of red deer and birds of prey, and, because it's a nature reserve, basically empty.

You have to walk everywhere, but it's not a big island. Amazing place.

Merkin said...

Even better is Gigha - off the Mull of Kintyre.
I was only there one time and met a friend of my father, the famous Mr Angus McSporran.
He was the post holder of at least a dozen jobs on the island.
Postman
Fireman
Policeman
Coastguard etc etc

http://tinyurl.com/2ndchm

Beautiful place.

trousers said...

Hi pixie - maybe so but at least there's some kind of consistency there....

szwag, I agree about Rhum: I went there for a day during another week's holiday, I think when we stayed at Kinlochmoidart, which was another beautiful week in itself. I can remember us walking past the school and seeing bikes outside without any locks on them. For a split second I thought, anybody could take them: then the obvious realisation that if someone did take them, they couldn't go very far.

I'll take your word for it about Gighamerkin. Let's face it - without wanting to lump it all together into one homogenous entity - it's a pretty good neck of the woods all round, isn't it :)

Ario said...

An intriguing conclusion that has set me thinking. Why do we always have toleave and why can't we just be? It is not as if we must leave to become. Just by allowing ourselves to be in such moments we are already becoming something else. Yet there is always this urge to move on. We flit around restlessly like swallows in Autumn and forget there is such a thing as stillness.

Beautiful pictures. I shall return to my cave now and ponder some more...

DJ Kirkby said...

Wow, gorgeous pics.

trousers said...

Bloody hell ario, you're on fire with your insights at the moment! Thought-provoking stuff for sure.

Hi and thank you dj, hope you're feeling better?

Reading the Signs said...

Trousers, four of my posts from May this year have photos of Iona and Mull. When I went the weather was unusually sunny, but even so I picked up on that particular quality of Mull melancholy. Very different to Iona and just a stone's throw. There is something about these places. Got me thinking about the word Sehnsucht.

trousers said...

Hi signs, I will have to have a look at the posts you mention.

Ah, Sehnsucht - it's one of those words which loses something in translation isn't it? Something akin to "sweet longing" if I remember rightly, but which does the original word and meaning a disservice.

Ario said...

Sehnsucht is a difficult one. I think the concept is best rendered into English by sweet longing, but when you look at the word it's nicely made up of two parts: sehnen and Sucht, longing and addiction, an addictive longing in other words.

Thanks, Signs, that has got me thinking as well now. In German you may say Ich habe Sehnsucht nach Dir. I am addictively longing for you? Doesn't sound as romantic when you translate it literally...More like you need treatment. Hmmmm.