We are. in fact. returned safely from the life long wished for trip to Scotland and Wales…. missing both the VA earthquake and Irene! (my daughter told me to return before the world ended!) I’ve been wanting to write this past week since our return, but mulling HOW to share this wonderful trip with others when it was so so personal. My father’s Hughes family left Wales in the 1700’s and I don’t believe anyone had ‘returned.’ Only one cousin I know of has visited Scotland…. and my great great grandfather’s family Stevenson left there for US 3/4 of the way through the 1800’s. It was time to check out “Brigadoon” before it disappeared back into the mist. Driven by a new found 4th cousin twice removed, John Stevenson and his patient wife Margaret, my age even!, Bill and I saw a GREAT deal of Scotland…Edinburgh and Tattoo, Carluke, Dunlop in Ayrshire where my family Stevenson was from (even the wee main street where his smithy shop was), Culzean Castle and the West coast up to Oban with trip by ferry to Isle of Mull and Tobermory town, then up and across to Loch Ness and rainy boat ride (of course) and down to Stirling Castle and back to Carluke. Ever so grateful as we could NEVER have driven those tiny narrow windy, ‘dry stand dyke’ lined roads!! But OH the beauty we saw! JUST what I’d dreamed it would be! quiet, lush, rolling hills covered with sheep and edged in ‘dykes’ (stone walls) and grazing cattle – sweet, close, stone villages, then glens of such peaceful majesty and a sense of graceful age. And of course there are the lone ruins of small castle/fortifications dotted here and there for our enjoyment!
It’s ALL about THE STORY….whether written and/or visual, and I’ve lived my imagined story now. (Hale Mary Queen of Scots as a new teen did so many years ago!) I feel I’ve SEEN myself somehow…know more about myself…my family, past and present. As I head into this BIG birthday later this month I do so with a feeling of accomplishment and pride oddly of a different sort. I’ve lived a charmed life, I have to be honest. I do not take it for granted. Neither did my hard-working ancestors and I thank them for making my part of the story possible …. future chapters to come!