Thursday, August 29, 2013

Maighread in Scotland


I'm finally in the Highlands. I wanted to say “back in the Highlands” but I've never been here before.

This morning, at 6:54 AM in the Inverness train station, I found a notion and a motion and a whim to sing one of the Gaelic songs I learned Seirm. My mouth soon started to form the familiar words and then I started to cry.

“Now Maighread,” I told myself, speaking to myself in my Gaelic name, “you can't go singing and making yourself cry like that...”

I told myself that, but it didn't change the moment.

I know I've said it over and over – but I'm so grateful.


Years and years ago, my family left Scotland during the Clearing. I want to say to someone – I'm what you would've been if your great great grandparents had left here and bred them with a few Germans and Dutch folks.


I wouldn't go ahead and tell anyone I was Scottish. I know I'm not. But being American is strange. It's hard to explain to people in other countries who have their roots, their heritage, in the same country where they live now. If my Swiss friends trace back their family line, they stay in Switzerland. Eventually wayyy back they were elsewhere, but, to the core, they are Swiss through and through.

We've got something a bit different in the States. Aside from Native Americans and those who came up from the South, a whole lot of us have families that came here by boat. Yes, I'm American, but American is a pretty wide undefined term in my book. It lacks the back-culture that I crave – the culture you can dig through and the traditions that were passed down.



Back when my Grandma Hazel died, a few months ago, I decided to come to the Highlands instead of going home for the memorial service.

I've been dreaming of coming to Scotland since I was quite young and got the notion that my family was Scottish. I spent a fair amount of time doing research into my family line and reading up on the different clans. I'm a mutt-mixture of McLeod, Kerr, and Lindsay.

Multiple times I've thought, “This is the year. This time I'll make it there.” Finally, it's a reality. Everything has come full circle.

Fields and cows and sheep.
Scotland, as of yet, you do not disappoint.

At first, when I arrived, I wasn't sure how to feel. Over 24 hours on the go rendered my mind numb. But when the Scot Gaelic came out of my mouth, it hit me. I knew where I was.

It is so beautiful.

I inhale deeply. Breath out. Breath in.

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