The most remote of the British Isles is home to northwest Europe’s largest seabird colony, cliffs taller than the Empire State Building – and to one of the world’s eeriest ghost towns.
In a world over-puffed with information and a good deal of infamy, an almost-entirely unpeopled St. Kilda seems to slow the pace and suggest that things once had a beginning. Not The Beginning, mind you -- that would be intemperate -- but a beginning when hefted rock created shelter and perhaps a wash of hernias.
There's no returning to a sylvan beginning without inflicting demagogic wounds, but coming close or closer seems to warm the bones on the cold nights of strife and argumentation and advancement.
Where I live, a nine-year-old girl was killed Friday when she got caught up in the school bus that had dropped her off. Nine is a time of tickling and giggles and hugs and wobbly attempts on a two-wheeler. Or may be. And reading that headline, I would give a good deal for a magic wand that would trade my life for hers. Perhaps in my children's lifetimes, some such magic will arise, but it is not yet ... but perhaps St. Kilda is a bit closer to the mark.
The sleazy U.S. presidential election is winding down towards Nov. 8 when, with some luck, the presidential election will evaporate a bit. In Syria, the deliberate bombing of a school and the children in it is horrific beyond horror and yet with so many horrors, the capacity for horror is overstretched, worn out and somehow shaming.
Why then not take my small, fanciful break and wonder at a place so far from everything? It's a minor foolishness, seeking out a place that slows the pace and nuzzles up to the beginning or beginnings. The ground is, if only for a nanosecond, somehow firmer.