Time changes (noun verb)

We moved through the landscape like we were nudge-budging time.

We began with an unexpected tire event…on the OTHER rental car…. Some confusion on my part, as we both, that is each couple, arrived here in a white rental car…. After several attempts, I finally got straightened out…and permission was given for tire replacement/fixing to happen, using a nonspecified contractor…. Then we discovered that the tyre business we could find (TY, G__gle!) in these parts is closed Sat and Sun, so the next phase of the tire fixing event will happen Monday…. The “boys” installed the “real” spare, and the car is back safely in the driveway, awaiting the weekday opening….

Calanish standing stones 01
Calanish standing stones 02

Our first (scheduled) stop was this fantastic four-pointed array of standing stones with a circle of stones and even a burial cairn in the center. What we see today is the result of several hundred years of additions and modifications…. Plus agricultural use as late as fifty (I think) years ago, when this was a potato field (if I have it right).

For me, the space and place was magical in that this hilltop and the laboriously erected stones seemed like a place where peace reigned. My projection? Probably.

Broch dun carloway distant
Broch dun carloway inside

This magnificent circular structure dates perhaps a millennia closer to our own times, but still in the distant past. We read that no one knew the purpose of these huge circular buildings, and we also read about how it contained multiple levels of living spaces, likely used by several…families…. This broch (Friendly Autocorrect: plz don’t change it to broth again!) is huge and within the two-walled enclosure were steps and passages that permitted movement up and down, from level to level.

Very moving. Very different from the standing stones/stone circle….

Blackhouse village

We also visited a blackhouse village (that’s blackhouse not blockhouse, Friendly Autocorrect). The last residents moved out maybe in the 1950s(?), and about 15 yrs ago preservationists began to reconstruct and preserve this cluster of blackhouses. We found displays and people here extremely informative…but I neglected to discover the reason behind the naming…. I heard that previously there were white-houses, hence the name as the structures contrasted in some way. I also heard that the peat fires inside blackened the interiors. Mostly, I just absorbed what it might have been like to live in spaces with your sheep/cattle, to have a dirt floor in your house, and to nearly always have your nostrils filled with the scent of burning peat. My imagination may not match reality.

Rabbit village

Adjacent to the blackhouse village was a rabbit village. [Rabbit is more central and in the fore-ground than sleeping lamb. Rabbit’s friends and relatives didn’t make this crop….]

Fresh cut peat

Still trying to figure out the complexities of peat cutting and drying. From my limited understanding, this bunch of peats is in the first stage of the drying process, which may take at least six weeks and can be longer if it’s repeatedly rainy.

Very exciting day all around. Plus, we watched the moon above, and we have seen the loch in front of our rented cottage in the hinterlands become still-surfaced. Given the constancy of the wind, I was very surprised by this…nature-mirror…moment.

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