Friday, November 23, 2012

My Journey Continues in Scotland

East Aquhorthies Stone Circle

This part of my journey has taken me on to Aberdeenshire in Scotland where I've been staying with cousins for the week.  The first day was glorious with clear skies and bright sun and we made hay...visiting 3 stone circles and 2 other archeological sites, and also the graveyard where my grandparents are buried.  It's wonderful how I feel connected to this place through those grandparents and my cousins.

View from the window at Coreenview Farm

Midmark Kirk Stone Circle with crosses from the cemetery casting shadows on the recumbent stone.

The stone circles here are quite different from those in Ireland.  The circles I've seen here in North East Scotland have a recumbent stone at the head of the circle, flanked by 2 standing stones.  These circles are oriented to the rising or the setting of the full moon.

I began to ask my cousins for stories of my grandparents that they had heard from their grandparents.  My grandparents were born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada in the early 1900's. My cousin Carol and I went to the Old Meldrum archives to try to research more about them. I am reminded of my earlier post from Cill Rialaig.  I took photos of a 'stone circle' that an Irish sculptor had created in the ruins of a house at Cill Rialaig. The artist wrote on 7 long narrow stones made of red Kerry slate to honour Sean O'Conaill, a famous Gaelic storyteller who had lived here.

They die untold
Untold we die
This land gave us stories
Story Shapes our soul
Once she spoke
Now she whispers
Keep listening.

The idea of stories was on my mind in Ireland and I find myself searching for my own family stories here amongst my cousins in Scotland.

My great grandparents lived in this house and they both eventually died there.
View of the house from the road

Carol and I drove up to this house and I introduced myself to the people who have lived in it for the past 35 years.  They kindly showed us inside, and took us up to one of the upstairs bedrooms that had the original pine panelling-something directly from the past-that I could touch.

My cousin Ian gave me a photo of my grandfather, and is also sending me the old fiddle that my grandfather used to play.  I didn't know he played the fiddle.

John Robertson

 I will go home from here with stories.

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. 
—Barry Lopez

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