Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Skye: Full of Wonder

"Have you ever, as a small boy, wandered farther from home than you meant to or were aware of - say, up a strath or valley - until you found yourself in a place where you had never been before? All at once you realize that you are in this strange place. Stock still, not breathing so that you can listen, you stare at grey rocks with whorls of lichen on them like faces, tree-roots like snakes, the trees themselves heavy with leaves and silent. Your heart comes into your throat. Quietly, very quietly, you get back onto the path, then take to your toes for all you are worth. This may have been the first experience of panic fear - the first meeting with the old Greek god. But you also met someone else there, much nearer to you than Pan: you met yourself..."

"...Normally at this point one gets back into the old familiar places as quickly as possible. But if the surprise, the shock, of finding oneself in such new and surprising scenery is great enough, there may be induced the involuntary reflection: That I should be here! I - here - amid the strange and bewildering! At such a moment, if the shock has really been astonishing enough, the 'I' has a new feel, a new taste. It is in a way as if one had never really met this 'I' before..."

"...For the real point of the experience is that one comes upon oneself, the 'I', as one may never have done before, almost as though it were outside oneself, in a detachment evoked by the strangeness of the scene and the moment. In this sense it is objective not subjective. One apprehends one's presence there as one might the presence of a stranger. And the experience is incredibly refreshing, cool as birch-scented air, and full of wonder."

- Neil Gunn (1891 - 1973)
Passages quoted from John Burns, A Celebration of the Light

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