Tuesday, 21 September 2010
There may be some cloud
Two weeks and four days of life in Scotland, so far. If you were me, these would be the houses you would see if you looked down the street from the kitchen window.
But mostly you would see the moody sky and the slate stone roofs. Top floor living in a granite city by the sea, somehow makes me feel as if I am forever in a great ship, sailing through the ocean, or living in a giant nest beside the edge of the world.
Sometimes a magpie and crow stop by and work together to strip away and steal pieces of the antennas from the chimneys across the way. There are doves and seagulls, too, and wild geese have begun to fly south; we stop and open the windows to watch them pass. We drink tea and speculate if enough moisture is falling or floating that one might say that it is raining, or if we are just in the midst of a spell of 'cloud'.
Once, during a torrential downpour, a window like the one you can see above, square in the middle of the roof, was raised and a man pulled himself up and out. He slipped on the wet slate roof and almost fell, causing the world to freeze horribly for a moment, which I guess gave him the chance to right himself and go about his way.
The first week was like this, waiting for our things to arrive in boxes, only being able to leave in shifts, in case the boxes should arrive. Unpacking. Moving all the furniture around until it was basically back where it was in the beginning. Lots of sky watching.
Next there came glimpses of the city, worrying the streets with our footsteps, always the same streets on errands, back and forth.
I find the city charming with its many towers, old factory buildings, granite houses on lanes, and every now and then a brightly coloured lamp post, or a patch of flowers. I haven't yet taken many photos of the city, but we have snapped two of the main square:
Moving to a place where I can already speak the language makes everything seem easy. I haven't quite gotten used to hearing English spoken outside my window. My ears seek to understand overheard words in French, the way they used to transform Japanese or French into an imagined English in my early days in other places. It's lovely to be able to communicate so freely, but a part of me also feels something akin to a loss of privacy. So it's lucky that I am in a city where there are places where one can slip off to.
The other night we strolled down by the Brig O' Balgownie, built over the Don river in the 13th century by Robert the Bruce...
...and found a land of swans and seals. Of course, the seals jump up and flip around in the air at odd moments, and are impossible to photograph. I suppose it was too late for them to be laying about in the sun.
Further on the river opens up to the sea.
And then, how good to come home to our aerie of stone, wind-whipped and wild from the seashore, to sit out the night as yellow leaves fly up past the window.