Sunday, August 28, 2016

Skye: Not even a Thousand Pictures

"Use a picture.
It's worth a thousand words."

- Arthur Brisbane (1864 - 1936)
(This aphorism is usually ascribed to an old Chinese proverb,
although it has been 
traced to an instructional talk given by Brisbane
to the 
Syracuse Advertising Men's Club in 1911)

I have no deeper words of wisdom to impart in regard to this photo than to simply echo Brisbane's admonition. I could say that it was a photo taken at Trumpan (Skye, Scotland at some precise lat/long coordinate), on July 4, 2016 at 10:13 local time (as one might guess, the sun sets very late on Skye in the summer), looking to the north west toward the isle of Harris, and that the ambient temperature was hovering near a comfortably cool 54 deg F. I could write some words to convey a sense of the mysteriously "dynamic stillness" that the slowly dwindling light infused the "air" with. I could wax poetic, and conjure some lines to describe the forms and colors of the evanescent clouds that so transfixed my wife's and my attention with their phantasmagorical - mystical - undulations. I could even evoke the faint, but soft accompanying symphony of mooohs and baaaas of Skye's - and Trumpan's - omnipresent cows and sheep, now cloaked by darkness, to provide a (dare I say it: synesthetic) dimension to the experience of seeing a sunset from this particular spot in space and time on our planet.

But none of these incantations come close to matching the power of a simple "picture." And yet, even the picture is inept (as would be any other I could insert in its place), and woefully inadequate to express the feeling of what it was like to be actually like being there in that moment, a short walk away from our little rented cottage, a warm meal in our bellies, kids safely by our side (though more engrossed in their flashlight-lit books than the aesthetic wonders surrounding them), knowing there are two full weeks still awaiting us on our vacation, looking out into the distance, just meditating on, and enjoying, the simple beauty spread before us.

"Use a picture; it's worth a thousand words" - yes, all true - but even a thousand pictures will fall far short of conveying what it is really like to experience the preternatural riches of Skye.

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