I was at work the other day and was talking to a customer who asked me about living in the States. While I really enjoy living here in Scotland I do miss the vastness of America; the wide open spaces, “sky right down to your ankles” feelings, the drama of its varying landscapes. There is something about the greatness of America’s geography and massive size that I miss. It’s a strange thing to miss and I think it has something to do with now living on an island. When our trip to Italy was cancelled we considered renting a car and taking a long weekend instead. We didn’t end up doing that and I think it was because to really feel like you’re having an adventure and “going somewhere” you have to get on a plane here. I’m not trying to discount the amazing things we’ve seen in Scotland and England – there is a surprising variety of landscapes on this little island. And I don’t say “little” in a denigrating way, just in a comparative sense. Scotty and I could have rented a car and in a couple of hours been on the other side of the country. In a matter of 7-8 hours we could have been in London. There is something nice and convenient about that but it can also feel a little claustrophobic. I also miss the variety of weather in the States. Most recently Scotty and I relished the mid-western storms that would blow in from nowhere without warning and wreak havoc for twenty minutes and then disappear. There’s something invigorating about a storm like that – the way the air feels charged, the excitement of the lightening and crack of thunder. In New England “Nor’Easters” would blow in in a fury bringing awe inspiring storm surf and flooding. Not great for your basement but elemental and beautiful. Weather like that makes you feel small and reminds you of your own fragility, your little place in this world. It brings perspective.
Here in Edinburgh we complain about the weather a lot – it’s a national pastime – and rightfully so. While I know they have violent storms up north here in Edinburgh we’re stuck with a lot of the same-old same-old. Drizzle. Wind. Damp. Sometimes the wind and the rain will combine to create startling conditions but in the nearly three years I’ve been here I’ve never seen anything that rivals a good mid-western storm. The closest thing was the blizzard we drove through on our way to Oban. The wind was blowing so hard as we came over a steep pass that the snow was completely horizontal and it was a bit stressful to drive in.
But Edinburgh has amazing skyscapes. I’m pretty sure that’s not a word but I’m going to use it because the sky here provides a dramatic backdrop. I’ve seen startling sunsets and cloudy vistas that require you to stop where you are and just look skyward for a while. On my way home from work yesterday I encountered a sky so beautiful and varying I had to take some pictures.