A walk up a hill on Islay to the Kilbride Reservoir, the source of water for Laphroaig’s mash tuns and washbacks. Water scooped into a glass that already looks like a pour of Laphroaig with all the light brown sediment and small dark bits and pieces swimming and churning in peat-flavored H2O. But for now I’m walking up a hill on Islay.
I’ve been listening to György Ligeti’s Requiem for the last few days, with its wash of choir and orchestra merging shifting harmonies through chord clusters that have the feel of clouds sailing in off the sea, covering rock and grass with amorphous timbres, and then moving on to other islands and seas. Have a listen.
Today is a day of varying green and gray tones. A soft rain has moved in and the sea itself clouds like the sky bordering olive, emerald and jade in shades of smoke and ash. A timeless sense or a look and feel of all times, and then a marker of a long ago and the unknown.
A menhir or standing stone buried a bit in the earth, just enough for it to stand against storms for millennia and not move, just stay and watch. A lone lookout of a megalithic culture stretching throughout North Atlantic islands since the 4th millennium BCE. A reminder of the music in my head and a movie seen over and over and as unknown as the large figure before me. A shade of the “Kyrie” from Requiem appears in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with the appearance of the monolith on earth.
And on the moon.
Bends and blurs and spreads of sound and thoughts move through my head as I approach an older Europe.
A face pockmarked and scarred by rain, wind, hail from sky and sea; colored by moss and lichens growing in cracks and cuts and leaving light-green patterns. I look at a shard of rock placed in what now is a field of grass; a part of nature set in such a way, found in such a way, that it seems to ask to be viewed as slightly separate from hill and waves. Much like the human looking at it I suppose, as it looks straight at me unflinching.