Wow.

Too many successive weeks with nary a brief jaunt into the heart of the city has completely made me forget how astoundingly beautiful this place is, and how I must indulge myself and take some time to walk around and just…experience things. Schoolwork, or the mental shroud it automatically incurs, can be a great blindfold to the inherent wonder that Edinburgh commands.

I headed out for a few minutes this afternoon to pick up a couple of last-minute Christmas things for my friends back home. Gotta get a jump on the Royal Mail, ya know. I usually like to make a big deal out of the holidays, and to create things and present them in a particular style is very rewarding for me. I enjoy mulling over the best things that reflect my friends, perhaps relying on something hand-made if nothing strikes my impression of them. The best gifts are ones that make a statement on the recipient, and that show my appreciation for them and their uniqueness. Unfortunately, being a student so far from home this year will have to curtail my gift output, and because of this I feel sad. But it’s either get lots of things for the gang and pay for postage…or eat tonight.

I’m a fool not to have brought my camera out today. I won’t make that mistake again. And though my words are a sad substitute for the particular strain of beauty that I saw this afternoon, I wish I could bring to you–especially those who aren’t living here–a brief vision of what it’s like. The Christmas lights are all over Prince’s Street, and too many people are out, as usual. But a lift of the eyes to the right broods the Castle and its ramparts, itself lighted from below and sternly commanding proper shopping etiquette from its volcanic perch. Along High Street to to the east and further along the panorama to the right are stretching masses of old parliamentary buildings, university dormitories, and gothic administrative blocks, elevated from the street below and stacked together like Legos on the grassy, green Mound. That hillock rolls down to the Gardens, where leafless willows and oaks skeletally dance in the biting December wind and give a moment’s respite to the weary capitalist content to sit on the park’s many proffered benches. To the left is the seemingly endless string of stores and companies that borders Prince’s Street, loudly proclaiming their dominance with bright lights from within and enticing displays spilling out onto the sidewalk to take advantage of the season’s liquidity. It is hard to believe the difference in the juxtaposition of the two, from left to right.

Ahead lies Calton Hill, from which various oddly-shaped structures erupt: towers and monuments overlooking the diligence of the city’s residents and tourists. A massive, jovial Ferris Wheel below brings mirth to the scene, a clownish beacon in a sea of sober, grey buildings and layers of architectural beauty. It rotates slowly, matching the velocity of the revolving door at Waterstone’s bookseller. Above Calton Hill is a feather-boa pink sky, fading to grey at the horizon as the Firth sucks the life out if it and the afternoon turns to night at 4:00 pm. A full, huge, harvest moon hangs in the sky just behind the jutting nozzle of the old observatory, and I wonder how I forgot there was such a thing in these normally clouded-over skies. The whole scene is just overwhelming and beautiful and…solid. Something to remember–and keep remembering–what waits just outside my door. The work can wait for a bit.

Next time, the camera comes with me, which may be as soon as tomorrow night so that I may catch the moon and fading light and wonder in my futile, humble little lens.

10 Responses to “Wow.”

  1. mxhaunted Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 10:58 am

    This city is rather beautiful. I wish I had a camera good enough to capture it. So many times I’ve wandered around this city and I just end up gazing around and losing myself to the wonderful architecture. My cousin and her husband were quite taken by this majestic city as well. They said they have fallen in love with it.
    That said, they were quite perplexed to how “gothic” it all is. It almost seemed alien to them. You have to go up to Arthur’s seat sooner or later and watch the sun set. It’s quite wonderful. Edinburgh looks so far below.
    I need a new camera!

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 12:42 pm

    You're absolutely right. I have to head up there soon.
    More time to do such things after next week!

  3. evils Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 1:20 pm

    You have to go up to Arthur’s seat sooner or later and watch the sun set
    Had the pleasure of doing that yesterday. Was absolutely exhilarating and I felt totally soul-cleansed by it. 😀
    Seeing as I'm a tree-hugging hippy at heart, me and the blu one are actually planning on heading up there with a flask of tea and some caaaake to watch the sunrise/mist/rain/clouds/dawn break over the city tomorrow morning if anyone is interested in high morning tea. 😉
    It's supposed to be "moderate" visibility and not too cold/windy.
    I know it's a complete cheesy cliche but it is nice to take time out from the city drag and gain a bit more perspective.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 3:30 pm

    Oh, man, do I wanna join you.
    Unfortunately, I'll probably just be going to sleep when you guys are hiking up that great mass of rock, tea and cake in hand.
    Can I come next time? 🙂

  5. evils Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 4:41 pm

    Surely ;-D

  6. mxhaunted Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 3:35 pm

    Nice idea. I have to turn you down as well as I’ll be asleep in bed… hopefully. Have fun and try not to trip over anything while going up there. It’ll sure be dark.
    Let me know next time.:)

  7. velvetdahlia Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 11:22 am

    Oooh, lovely description of the sunset! Probably better than a picture…

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 12:40 pm

    Just you wait until I post them, then.
    But thank you!

  9. shawree Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 5:51 pm

    Hey, just looking at my LJ friends page with my now hubby <lj user="arricc"> – eeek! – and he says he met you at the Monkey with Tales and Matt when he was on a course in Edin. So – hello!

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    December 7th, 2003 at 7:35 pm

    Sure! I remember the fuzzy bloke…
    Please give him my best. I wasn't *that* drunkie.
    🙂

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