22 Jul 2010

Breathing space at St. Cuthbert's

It is summer in the city for me. With festival season looming, the daylight hours are filling up with work and thoughts of even more work.

Life becomes about trying desperately to be less jealous of Alex and Bob’s blue sky adventures, and more focused on finding small pieces of breathing space.

There is a beautiful graveyard on the corner of Princess Street and Lothian Road in Edinburgh, which belongs to the Parish Church of St. Cuthbert.

With constant traffic rumbling past on two sides, this churchyard still feels like a tiny haven, a place where nothing has moved for hundreds of years.

In high summer, the sun seeps through the leaves and lands on gravestones flecked with moss and the surrounding carpet of green grass.

On a windless day, if you ignore the sounds from the nearby roads, it can seem like a snapshot of photosynthesis, that pause between moments when everything just stays put. Tiny pollen grains seem trapped in sunbeams like snow in a snow dome and I expect to see the bees suddenly freeze in mid-flight.
Aside from services, the church itself is only open to visitors in the summer months, but the graveyard is open all year. In the winter it encapsulates Edinburgh’s perfect gloom, and in the summer it still retains those precious shadows. It is one of my favourite places in the city.

My other favourite place at the moment is at home, where my Scotsman and I have just passed our second week of shacked-up domestic bliss. It is very, very good.

So just when the days are longest and Scotland is humming with beauty and numerous festivals and activities, my senses are otherwise engaged. I will however be attempting to share the odd post and keep reading about the adventures of fellow blogger whenever possible.

To those who have been reading along with Magnus Magnusson’s Scotland, Story of a Nation: It would seem I have failed you. My intentions were good, however I think I should have started this quest in the autumn instead of the busy spring. I remain hovering around Page 200. Luckily my friend Susan is still ploughing through and is posting updates on her progress. As for me, I will finish - eventually. Forgive me!

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