Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!
Between reading Hebridean tales by Lillian Beckwith and inspired by a wonderfully written blog by accomplished painter Caroline Simmill and this being Thanksgiving, the Scottish highlands have been with me all day!
Two years ago I traveled to the north west coast of Scotland for the first time and spent Thanksgiving with my daughter in an extremely remote croft (did I mention remote?) off a one-track road and on top of the sea.
Of course, Thanksgiving is not a Scottish tradition, so no turkey to be found, never-mind a grocery store. I did manage a very very long and hilly hilly hike to the ‘town’ that consisted of a post office, pub (of course) and a wee store with everything.
I selected an assortment of food items and inquired as to where to book a taxi, as they would be too heavy to carry on the return marathon. The merchant gave me a quizzical look - (a taxi? out here?) Taking pity she kindly offered to deliver the goods in an hour or so. So in the company of curious sheep I climbed the hills ( mountains) back to the croft. This strenuous climbing is commonly called hill-walking…sounds so –un-strenuous- when put that way.
Once inside I couldn’t wait to turn on the stove, make some hot tea and rummage around for some pots and pans in anticipation of our ‘Thanksgiving’ dinner. Unfortunately I had no idea how to work the stove, nor the coal fired Ray-burn (I think that’s the name). On top of that, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to the kind storekeeper who assured me she ‘knew the croft’. I reassured myself-after all there weren’t many crofts out here and she would find us eventually. Hours went by –my daughter figured out how to work the stove and managed to get some heat from the Ray-burn but we were hungry! Then we heard a quiet tap on the door. Our ‘neighbours’ (half an acre away) had received the groceries and kindly dropped them off. That Thanksgiving meal of fried ham and eggs -brilliant!
I have rarely been so moved to paint as when I was amongst the raw and haunting scope of this world. Spiritually I felt a force well beyond the visually stunning splendor of mysterious mountains and sky. It cast a spell and I was compelled to return the following year.. hope to go again, but for now I am living it vicariously through the writings and paintings of others.
all paintings from SEALLADH SITHEIL SERIES, plein air, Jan Yates, SCA, acrylic on canvas