Friday, December 5, 2008

my picture

is of the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides off the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of my most favorite places on earth. Going there is like going home. The geography is soothing and familiar and awe-inspiring and domestic and rugged all at once.
We spent many childhood summers on this island with our parents. If we weren't there we were on one of the other Scottish Islands: Harris, Lewis, The Orkneys, The Uists, Skye. Those were favorite places too, but we always gravitated back to Tiree.
There is something so comforting about thinking of those long ago and near-to summers. The comforting routine: breakfast, making packed lunches, trekking to one of the 10 or more beaches either by bike, on foot or in the VW van, swimming in the freezing sea, teeth chattering, rubbing ourselves dry with stiff towels that had never felt softener, eating our packed lunches and drinking coffee (something we only drank on the beach to warm us), wading in rock pools, playing cricket or french cricket in the sand, building sand castles, sand boats, sand walls to stem the incoming tide: fighting a valiant but loosing battle to dam the holes in our sand, rock and sea-weed wall against the water. Trekking home, tired and happy and sun and wind-burnt, mom and dad making dinner, us quiet with books and coloring, sitting around the fire after dinner. bed, the same again tomorrow, only interrupted by the vagaries of the scottish weather.
We returned to Tiree three times with our ailing parents in 2001, 2003 and 2005 and we were the ones doing the driving, making the packed lunches, making sure we made enough toilet stops and no-one felt travel sick. We replicated the holidays we had as children only this time, we had our own children with us ( or two out of three of us kids have children so far), we planned routes. We deferred to mum and dad - they had their say too about what we would do, but we held the compass and the map. A strange but common reversal of roles. Those summers were difficult, frustrating, uplifting, precious. Everytime we went these last three times I wondered if we would all be back, if all of us would live to see another trip. I was amazed that my parents made it the last three times. My dad died in April and I miss him so much - he was the explorer that led us to so many wonderful places. We were his band of little followers, sometimes complaining, asking if we were "there yet", wondering how high this or that mountain was, what was that bird? How far was this walk? When were we stopping for lunch?
Now we are trying to have our own little family. DP and I take very similar holidays to those my family took; less walking but lots of outdoors, simple living, water - always water - usually lakes.
I look forward to bringing our little munchkin to Tiree and walking with her or him along our favorite beach, calling to the seals, playing games, looking for shells.
I hope we get there.

4 comments:

Thankful Paul said...

Hello

S. said...

all this time, i never knew what tireegal meant! sounds like an amazing place to spend childhood summers!

love the banner at the top of your page. i was just thinking i need to work on that on my own ~ i think you've just inspired my weekend project!! :)

tireegal68 said...

Thanks S - I hope you have fun with your blog - I just found out you can add music to it - I did it last night.I am already obsessed. It is kind of comforting.
I am still not sure who this blog is for - barely any of my IRL people know about it - only DP and one other blogger - I am okay with cyber people reading it. Maybe one day I will figure it out.

KM said...

Welcome to blogging. Tiree sounds amazing. I have always wanted to travel to Scotland and Ireland. I hope someday to be able to.
Kelly (Irish1971)