Day 247 of Project 365: Missing Scotland.

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The heatwave dissipated quickly, leaving behind the merest hint of autumn in the air. A few rainy days in a row were enough to wrangle me into heartier outerwear, and as I attempted to shove a wee bag of blueberries into one of my jacket pockets, my fingers caught on a couple of pieces of paper.

I drew them out and smiled. Two tickets from Lothian Buses, dated last December.

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In this endless and perhaps ill-conceived push to move ever forward, I had not allowed myself anything more than the briefest of glimpses in the rear-view mirror at the landscape — that stark, lush, unforgiving and breathtaking landscape — that had just been left behind.

This is home, and that was home too. The heart bounces between the two like a pinball made of feathers. Things fracture and spin off. That’s okay too.

Writing from: my study in Portland, sort of. Listening to: “Low Hymnal” by Told Slant.

Day 24 of Project 365: The way home.

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Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

A few weeks after moving here, I kept asking FunkyPlaid what that big group of buildings looming over the city was.

Half a year after moving here, I had finally figured out what it was.

A couple of years later, befuddled tourists started asking me how to get to the castle. Me! I could hardly believe it. I must have looked like I knew where I was going, but the truth is that the only place I knew how to get to without thinking and without checking on the blue dot on my phone was home.

This is home to me. This has been my home for four years. This will not be my home tomorrow. All of these facts take their turns flitting into and out of the “inconceivable” box in my brain.

I am ready to leave, and I am not ready too. That’s the best time to go.

Writing from: a home, my home, in Edinburgh. Listening to: all of the subtle noises that I won’t hear again.

Day 21 of Project 365: Dark Tower.

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Pictured is not Dark Tower, the awesome electronic board game I loved as a child, but rather The Black Tower, the delicious dessert at local Thai place Passorn.

But now that Dark Tower was mentioned at dinner, I cannot get it out of my head.

Nostalgia is dangerous. It can seduce us with claims of an unblemished past, suggesting that a portal to this past is within our grasp. But I know — as we discussed over dinner — that the experience of playing Dark Tower now is not the same as the memory of playing it thirty-five years ago. Still, I enjoyed peeping into the portal with this commercial.

I wonder which memories of my time in Scotland will trigger that nostalgic impulse. There will be plenty lurking about my subconscious, I’m sure. Certainly one of them has to be skirting the Links, chatting away with Gav about a story I’m struggling to write.

Writing from: a chilly kitchen, now that the lounge is devoid of furniture. Listening to: that clock that never keeps the right time, still ticking away.

Day 12 of Project 365: The church of Savour.

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When I eat, I am present. Thoughts do not intrude in this space, reverent as they are in the church of Savour. Tonight’s service was Highland venison loin, shredded beef cheek, smoked celeriac, and parsnips.

I wonder if someday I’ll have the resolve to try a vegetarian diet. Then I have dishes like this one and put it off for another day.

There are particular foods (sushi) I miss from the States, and I look forward to having some of them (burritos) soon. But I’ve had some stellar meals in Scotland, and this one at 63 Tay Street was high up there. If you are near or passing through Perth, go there. They’ll take care of you. What a joy it is to be handed a menu and told, “Whatever you choose, we’ll adjust it to be gluten-free for you.” The vegetarian in our party did not lack for mouth-watering options, either.

The dining companions, not pictured, are also highly recommended, but probably wouldn’t appreciate me offering their conversational services. Your meal at 63 Tay Street will be BYOFOIE (Bring Your Own Friends Or Intriguing Enemies).

We won’t call this a goodbye meal, either. Thinking is for later, maybe for the plane ride, or even later. Just look at the food. Focus on the food. It was delicious.

Writing from: a cold and mostly-dark lounge in Edinburgh. Listening to: “Awake” by Tycho from Spotify.

Day 10 of Project 365: The Ormiston Yew Tree.

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Choosing today’s photo was more difficult than usual but I settled on one of an ancient yew tree that John Knox purportedly preached under because … well … that. Knox is not pictured, but I did leave in a human and a wee dachshund for scale.

This is the magical Ormiston Yew Tree. It is difficult to find, so I am glad that I had a local guide in the aforementioned human, my friend Juliana. Accompanied by her two darling dachshunds, Juliana and I have gone on a number of East Lothian adventures over the past few years, always followed by delicious home-cooked meals. While tromping through the sopping undergrowth today, my heart ached to think that this outing would be our last one for a while. Saying goodbye to dear friends is part of this whole moving-away process, but I still haven’t gotten used to it.