Beira

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Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness

Seasons have unpredictable natures, and struggle to retain influence over earth days.  Winter has lost most of its control over Vancouver, but has sent a covering of snow in parts of Eastern Canada. Transitions are never smooth, and seasonal weather patterns, which can take on a tug-of-war appearance, seem to adopt human characteristics.  Is it any wonder that mythologies build upon this idea?

In my farewell to winter, I came to know the one-eyed giantess Beira, Queen of Winter, the mother of all the gods and goddesses in Scottish mythology.   Wielding a magic hammer, her brilliant white hair set against dark cobalt skin and rust-coloured teeth, she formed mountains to serve as her stepping stones and set up Ben Nevis to be her mountain throne. Loch Ness came into being when she transformed her inattentive maid, Nessa into a river that gave us the spectacular Loch that draws thousands of visitors to Scotland every year. In her more reflective moments, Beira herds sheep, but she is ever vigilant against “spring,” using her staff to freeze the ground upon which she walks.   The Winter Solstice defines the end of her reign as Queen of Winter, and ushers in Brighde, the goddess who rules the summer months.

Scottish Highlands - Loch Ness

Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness

The Queen of Winter will return, for on the longest night of the year, she drinks from the enchanted Well of Youth and grows younger day by day.

There is a wistfulness when we let go of what is, to accept what comes next; even a goddess feels a sense of loss.  Yet, the possibility of renewal is always present.

“Folk tales and myths, they’ve lasted for a reason. We tell them over and over because we keep finding truths in them, and we keep finding life in them.” Patrick Ness

Scottish Highlands - Loch Ness

Scottish Highlands – Loch Ness

Blàr Chùil Lodair

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‘Will ye no come back again’

 Scottish lament after Charles Edward Stuart returned to France following the failure of the 1745 uprising.

Culloden Moor

Culloden Moor

Blàr Chùil Lodair, The Battle of Culloden was the final skirmish of the 1745 Jacobite Rising under the command of Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.  It was the House of Stuart against the House of Hanover for the restoration of the Stuart line to the British Throne.  Without the benefit of military experience and ignoring the advice of his commander, George Murray, Bonnie Prince Charlie chose to fight on open marshy land that fateful day of April 16, 1746. His forces consisted mostly of Scottish Highlanders, along with a few Lowland Scots and a small detachment of Englishmen from the Manchester Regiment.  The fight was quick, bloody and decisive. Charles Stuart returned to France, defeated, never to return again to Scotland.

The Highlands lost many brave men that day.  The relentless pursuit of remaining Jacabites and the Act of 1747, in reaction to the Jacobite rebellion would be equally catastrophic.  Every attempt was made to destroy the clan system of society across the Highlands, including banning the wearing of the tartan and carrying weapons.  There was an understanding that the Highland Pipes, although not specifically mentioned in the new laws, were outlawed as well.

The Clans

Music defines a society’s values and traditions; lyrics and tunes can be used as a rallying call to action.  The Highland Bagpipes endured as a testament to the resilience and courage of a people who would not forget their heritage.

Bonnie Charlie’s now awa’,
Safely owre the friendly main;
Mony a heart will break i’ twa,
Should he no’ come back again.

Chorus:
Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo’ed ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?

The Memory

The Memory

Travel Weaves a Tapestry

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Our world is open to all, but it relies on our eyes and ears to accept and cherish the stories that come to us through our journeys.  Travelling is weaving a tapestry of fresh colours, ideas and dreams.

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou

Where God Lives…

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“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”

Bono, lead singer of U2

Bridge the Gap

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“Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.”
Earl Nightingale

In our mercurial world, goal setting is a delicate undertaking.  Goals were once fairly concrete, verifiable and measurable.  It seems that we need to be more flexible and open to the subtle nuances of a shifting environment.