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Unto The Hills
The Edge of the World

IN my mind's eye, 1 shall always see the little village of Inverey, upper Deeside, as the edge of the world. I came to it for the first time in winter, in knee-deep snow, on my way to the high hills.

How well I remember that evening! The silence -- the space -- the sunlight shivering down upon a silver world! There had been a bus-ride from Ballater to Braemar, with a glimpse of "dark Lochnagar" towering above her sister hills -- not dark now, but washed over with silver light and blue shadows where the sun traced Surrealist patterns across untrodden snow. And now -- Inverey in the dusk. The little houses huddled about the feet of the hills; the monument, to a son of Inverey who became Astronomer Royal of Bavaria, rising proudly out of a bank of snow. A quaint bridge -- and, underneath, brown, limpid water silvering into ice where it froze along the banks and around each projecting rock. Ahead, the long road, and the great, solemn hills reddening with the spent blood of the dying day. All around and beyond us were forests. Red pine and black pine, resounding still to the buzz of the saw, glowing with great fires of waste timber, making all the air redolent of their fragrant breath.

It was with a sense of leaving the world forever that we gazed back on the awakening lights of Inverey -- and forward into the virgin snows guarding the Road to the Hills.

Inverey (Mar) Upper Deeside

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