Highland Stag near Glen Elg
Originally uploaded by Brianfit
Ahhhh. Still rested and refreshed from a week away in the Highlands of Scotland. Nature, wilderness, wildlife — I miss these things here in my urban flatland home.
I’m rather pleased with this photo. It captures a charged moment, one of the indescribable experiences of being eye to eye with wild nature and the cautious slow motion that such encounters demand.
I once looked a humpback calf in the eye on a whale-watching trip back in Cape Cod, from an even closer distance than I saw this stag, and the intelligence and curiosity I sensed was a profound and life-changing experience.
There was a day I spent a lot of time on mountains, in forests, on the water. If there’s one thing I miss about the States (and this may be the only thing)… it’s that I always lived within easy striking distance of nature. I used to hitch-hike out of Boston to get into the Vermont or New Hampshire woods, spent a winter living in a cabin in New Hampshire. Even Washington DC was close enough to the hills of Virginia to be in a tent by nightfall using metro, bus and your thumb to get out.
But Scoltland reminded me most of the Nevada desert. Not the climate or the fauna, of course – though if you swapped the yellow gorse of Scotland with the springtime sagebrush of Nevada you’d be close — but the sheer magnificent desolation of some of the highlands. It was as if we had landed on another planet, with not a human being in conscious range, the wind wild over the deep moss, not a tree or any form of shelter taller than a boulder for as far as the eye could see.
The stag was, therefore, all the more powerful a surprise — to discover this large, powerful creature that any second was going to bolt away in a splendid bounding disappearing act, and know I had only a moment to appreciate the experience.
“Mono no aware” I’m informed this is called in Japanese… the wistful bittersweet appreciation of beauty that is transient and about to vanish from your life.