We are just back from a bright full-moon lit stroll to the sea and all along the coast. We walked for almost three hours in the wind and seafoam roar, with the the strange undulations of bright light to dim night when clouds massed over the moon.
Earlier this evening I thought I would start to write here, but now I am a little moonstruck from too much time watching the silver curls of the waves and the moon sitting full above powdery white clouds, so there will have to be two story lines running through this post.
The roads are glittering with ice and silver light tonight. We met a fox in the street and passed a hill in a graveyard which looked like it had warmly lit windows looking out from under the ground. It was only a trick of the light, the street lamps reflecting off the graves, but it put us in mind of stories of fairy hills and troll parties where the hills are raised on pillars and bright lights shine out from underneath them.
But what I meant to tell you when I started pasting photos onto this little piece of your screen, is that in the past couple of months we have gone a-wandering a couple of times.
Our little trips brought us inside the bellies of ruined cathedrals, where the last bits of walls stand like huge old bones, patterning the sky beyond. We looked up into the worn-away faces of bishops turned to stone, or peered into little nooks in the walls where stone men stretched out in sleep, their arms folded across their chests.
In the centre of Elgin Cathedral we came across an old Pictish stone, its carved symbols just barely visible in the dusk. On the other side of the stone there is an elaborate Celtic cross. The light was falling out of the sky as we tried to take a picture, so I'm not sure how much of the carvings you will be able to see. At the bottom is a hunt scene, and at the top there are some of the designs that are found on a lot of Pictish stones, the meanings of which remain rather mysterious.
Inside one of the church towers monster heads grimaced at us from above. The wind whipped around outside and night fell. But that was not our only visit to a skeleton cathedral.
|Looking down the old pier into St. Andrews|
We also spent a fine day in late December in St. Andrews, with its splendid ruins of a huge cathedral as well as the ruins of a castle that housed the area's bishops before the Reformation.
That day was not so different from tonight: we spent hours on the wide, endless beach there in the wind and the twilight and the oyster catcher cries.