As I look at all the images on the site I sigh. The pictures are so beautiful as to seem unreal to me. The fall colors and rich hues of the water and sky seem surreal. I imagine myself on the shoreline; walking with my husband; holding hands. And yet I don’t know why I feel this sense that I’ve always felt. That I’ve been there before. This portrait of a land I’ve never been; this Scotland. Why is it my heart beats fast and my mind races when I think of being in a spot of the world that I’ve never visited or even thought of until five years ago? And why now? I have tried without success to understand this new passion that I have. To understand it is unfathomable to me; and to explain it to others is impossible. How can I help others know what I don’t myself?
I have always loved the outdoors; loved nature. I especially have had a mad obsession with mountains; any mountains. Being born in Colorado I have had a taste of them for most of my life; but these mountains are not like Scotland’s. Scotland boasts of many beautiful sites; from the moors to the lochs; the highlands and the islands are all wrapped into a stunning vision for us to see. But the mountains are what call me. They beckon me to join the many that find this wondrous place of the ancients; the proud people of this rugged land.
Talking to people that have been there; visiting with people online that actually live there; I am told that this is not an uncommon phenomenon. One friend from Stirling tells me that I am just being called by the past. She says that the ancients do not give up their ancestors easily. Somehow that seems to comfort me even as I see that my husband does not understand. He is a patient and kind man. Prone to long suffering silence at my whimsy; he is sure this too will pass. I have been known to wax poetic about many things over the years but to help him understand this new thing is beyond me.
I’ve told him in jest and sometimes in all seriousness that I want to not only visit this amazing place but to live there. He just stares at me and says nothing. I tell him that he would love it; that he would find the people easy to live with; to enjoy the beautiful sites is only part of being there. I tell him that he would enjoy their kindness; their practicality; their loyalty to friends and land. As a last resort I tell him they make the best whiskey in the world; knowing full well I’m getting desperate to help him get used to the idea. Him being a man known for enjoying a glass on occasion; perks up a bit. Finally he looks straight into my eyes and asks what is this all about? I don’t know; I really don’t.
This all started several years ago when I had a dream. A dream of a castle on a hill; it’s grey forbidding walls high above me. As I walk below it I get the feeling I’m being watched by some unseen being. I hear music; the tin whistle and fiddle are playing softly in the distance. And the air has a crisp fresh feel to it; as if it had just rained a cool spring rain. I walk for some time and suddenly I am in a completely different place; not like the first image. The place is somber; a big open area with a marker of some kind is in front of me. I cannot understand this place but I get the feeling that someone is trying to show me something. I can’t read the stone marker; I walk closer. It says Culloden on it. I don’t understand this place but I hear a cry of despair from somewhere. It is gone and I wake.
This dream came to me many times over a course of several years. I assumed it was always a dream of a place I wanted to visit since childhood. I would wake from this dream and analyze it and always decided that the dark emerald color of green in this lush place had to be Ireland.
That was until I read a book. It was “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. She paints a picture of Scotland in her series of books that many have enjoyed over the last decade and I am new to reading. It makes me curious to see what she talks of so I do some research. As I look up pictures of Scotland I am stunned. The place I’ve been dreaming of is not Ireland at all but another beautiful place; Scotland. I’m floored that the images I’ve seen; the beauty I’ve known for years in these dreams is of a place I never thought I’d ever want to know. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. All I can think is that I am supposed to visit. That I am supposed to understand something about this land; and possibly about myself as well.
So I talk to my relatives about our family history. After all; who better to help me find out whether I have a dead ancestor calling me than my family? My aunt tells me that we are of Scottish decent; among other things. I do research and find that yes indeed we do have Scottish blood running in our veins. Wow. His name was Mac McGrew and he really did live; came to America and was from this wondrous place.
So my dream is still with me and if it is Mac that visits me several times a month that is fine with me. I don’t see him; not sure if this is all his doing or not but the idea that I have a long dead relative that wants me to come visit doesn’t seem to bother me at all. In fact I am going to find a way to see this place before I die and when I do I will visit Stirling Castle and Culloden Field of my dreams and maybe just maybe find my ancestors family.
After all; isn’t that what relatives are for but to visit; even if it’s only in a dream?