There was a short bridge, a perfect arch over an inlet, a cement rainbow delivering us onto the island. The day before, a Royal Navy nuclear sub had beached itself on some rocks at low tide. The giant black pill, harboring enough TNT to engulf a medium sized city, left helpless after navigation gone wrong.
We happened to catch a newspaper article: on the front page, three seaman in dark navy fatigues, standing atop the sub’s tower. Their demeanor, patient. They must have been freezing in the cold, waiting for the tide to flow.
We circumnavigated the island. From South to North, following the East coast. We travelled back, due West curving along two lane roads meandered through craggy moon-scape. A light sprinkle dowsed our windshield as I carefully drove on the opposite side of the pavement’s white line.
Bundled in three layers. Each of us. Protection from the elements as I tended to stop every couple miles, to exit out and absorb the pristine scenery. The odd desolation.
We paused at grey waterfalls pissing rain and runoff.
Pulled aside a handful of cliffs cropped steep against the ocean, a low fencing separating those overzealous, wandering too close to the edge. On occasion, gusts were known to send people to their death.
Curving around an inlet, a valley opened to our left. Between rocks and stunted grass sat a Lorrie’s muffler, rusted. A monument to failed logistics lying dormant on the side of a tiny mountain.
Passing through the capital city, schooner’s dusted the port. Despite the sky, blackened with impending storms, the water remained calm.
Each boat, anchored in place.
It was lunch time, this side of the world had stopped.
So we pressed on.
The farther we drove, the more barren the landscape. Here, the precipitation maintained a steady pace, falling downward, nourishing boulders abandoned from the Iceage.
By late afternoon we had made it to the other side of the island. The storm, slowly creeping, slowly keeping its distance, allowing us to visit what was left of the Clan Donald Castle–A shell, burnt out from a fire a century ago.
Walking through its grounds we saw no one. A lush green contrasting against the lichened, black stone: a last stand against monuments of brutal weather.
Walking past the ruins we stooped down into a grotto along the water. Taking seat on a wooden bench, we stared out into the sea, its placid water cloaking a violent past.
Of Viking plunder.
Immigration across channels, stirring the indigenous.
The stirring of family names, of opposing clans.
The beginning of a slow end to a Gaelic tongue.
We sat side by side on the bench, listening to the silence. All encompassing.
Except for the wind. Blowing in the bitter cold.
The storm had finally reached us.