And so I
must say Farewell to the Scottish Highlands. Since last visited that
lovely land war has cast its cruel shadow upon us; but no matter how long
I may have to wait I know that day I shall return.
walk again in the perfumed air of Rothermurchus and watch the June sun
setting over the Monadhliaths and casting its rose-pink hues over the
Cairngorms. I shall tramp again over the high plateaux of Ben Macdhui
and Braeriach and flush the ptarmigan among the boulders. Once more I
shall delightful days searching for the rare alpines that inhabit their
summits and exploring the magnificent corries of the Garrycore.
follow exciting tracks across the purple waste of Rannoch, until I come
down to the sea amid the beautiful mountains and valleys of Lochaber,
where I shall again live awhile amongst their hospitable peoples.
wander across moor and bog, by sparkling torrents and mirror-like lakes
into the enchanted West, towards the hills of Morar, until I see again
the Coolins black against the setting sun and feel the soft breeze
sweeping in from Rum and Eigg and the sparkling Atlantic.
climb again the shapely cone of Schiehallon or the beetling precipices of
Bidean, and look down from Cairn Toul into the depths of the Larig Ghru.
linger again to contemplate the beauty of Loch-an-Eilean and Loch Morlich
or stand in silent awe beside the stark shores of Loch Avon or Loch
return again to the land I love and to its flowers amid which I have
passed so many happy days, and I shall live again those lovely days I have
tried to recall to you in this short book.
To you to
know not the Scottish Highlands, I say, ‘Visit the Highlands at your first
opportunity, and like me you will return to your homes knowing that you
must go back, that you have fallen beneath the spell of their beauty and
that know the Highlands, to say more is superfluous, but my book at least
have achieved its object if you return in regard, not only the beauty of
mountain and lake, stream and moor, but also the flowers that adorn them
and add so much to the charm of the landscape, treating them not as the
streaks of colour upon a painting, but as living objects pulsating with
life, with beauty and with mystery, faced with the same hopes, the same
despairs and the same struggles for existence as ourselves.
thought is beautifully expressed by John Fiske in ‘Through Nature to God.’
thin, when working over my plants, of what Linnaeus once said of the
unfolding of a blossom; I saw God in His glory passing near me, and bowed
my head in worship.’ The scientific aspect of the same thought has been
put into words by Tennyson;
Flower in the crannied wall
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand
Little flower--but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
thought was ever uttered by poet. For in this world of plants, which,
with its magician, chlorophyll, conjuring with sunbeams, is ceaselessly at
working bringing life out of death, in this quiet vegetable world we may
find the elementary principles of all life in almost visible operation.