Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Of coldness and loss of feeling in toes...

Some visitors managed their way from France, over snow clouds and ice-jammed streets, to be with us these past few days.  Today, at work, people seem strange again, accents sound thicker, as if I had been away to someplace much farther than the local sights.

    Yesterday before planes and goodbyes, we took ourselves a little down the road, out to the ruins of Dunnottar Castle.  No one else was around, so we were free to wander all the dark and empty rooms, using the clouds of our breath to transform stray sun beams into columns of light.  We wound our ways up spiral staircases, wailed ghostly at lost members of our group, listened to the pigeons coo and hum inside the tower they had taken for their own, wrote snowy messages and left giant bird footprints across clear patches of snow.

   The day was full up with the pleasure of exploring a wild and windblown place, and it was surprising to look at the photos later.  With all of the emotion and chatter stripped away, only the bones of the day were left.

The land looked only bare and cold, the buildings only geometric and broken, a collection of surfaces in sun or shadow.  I felt as if I had not been to this place at all.

The bleakness of lost hours seemed to be mirrored back on me from these bits of captured light.  Though still visible, the places I had stood would no longer hold my feet. 

I've never before felt so estranged from photos that I couldn't remember for certain the act of having taken them.

Looking long enough, I start to wonder...

... are they the ghosts or am I?


  1. Heisann!

    I am back in the cold from Arles. More snow has come since I left. In Provence we had some days of cold to, one night with frozen carwindows, but the weather changed at the end of the stay.
    We visited museums, van Goghplaces and had a guided tour around the old town. We also went by bus to Avignon , to the Christmas marked.
    As we say in Norway: Borte bra, hjemme best!

  2. Jodie these photos look wonderfully timeless and leave you imagining about the people long ago who would have trudged through such snow to snare rabbits for their stew pots. It must have been great having the place to yourselves.

    That last photo looks like a horse searching for a bit of grass below the snow ... no perhaps some fatter beastie*!* Smiles, it's interesting how our ears adjust to familiar accents, reminds me of the first time we went home for a visit. It had been ten years and I could no longer differentiate peoples voices - all the women sounded exactly like my mother and everywhere I went I thought she was there behind me chattering away - it was funny weird.

  3. Vilt,

    I've been enjoying your photos from Arles and all the lovely and Van Gogh-y posts you've been making. It looks like you had great trip!
    And, I love the little bits of Norwegian you slip in your comments... "East, west, home is best"... have my researches got that right?
    Anyway, welcome back to the snow!!!


    That must have been a crazy trip, always looking over your shoulder. It's funny the way language can be this sort of barometer for our sense of 'home'.
    And I've just seen your horse in that photo! Ha!