Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Right to Roam

The Right To Roam
written by Caroline Pitts, 27 June 2016
photography by Brittney Rivera

Yesterday I adopted the right to roam.

“In Scotland, we have very few laws telling us what not to do and more laws telling us what to do.” Eddie, our Scottish guide and host told us, his accent just light enough that we are able to interpret his vernacular. 
“We have what is called a right to roam.”

A right to roam means that anyone can go.. well, anywhere, unless trespassing directly onto someone’s immediate property. 
So, here I am, in one of the most peaceful places I have ever laid my head to rest, adopting my right to roam. 
I find myself a six hour drive from Edinburgh, through the winding singletrack roads that lay like a zipper on a crumpled, oversized green hoodie. The hills here are dotted with white sheep bahhhing and eating, roaming and populating this vast green glen. 
The chalet that I have made my home is a tiny three bedroom, one bathroom, wooden house that overlooks the glen. There is a white horse (that I am certain came straight out of Princess Bride) grazing outside my window with a tiny brown foal at her side.

This is the land of Hagrid's Hut in Harry Potter, the land of Skyfall, and the land of my ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s side.  I cannot help but feel and hear them calling me to love this land because it is a part of me. 

I have never felt a strong sense of cultural pride or national affiliation. I love America, but as an American, I find it very hard to understand that my roots only go back a few hundred years. I long for a story of a great great grandmother of mine roaming through the fields of some distant land, passing stories to her children and appreciating her life in all its hardships and glories. It is here that I can pretend that I am her, walking through an ancient glen pondering on the footsteps that graced this land before her.

As I rested my head down on my pillow last night in my tiny bedroom where I had tacked up my post card of Stirling Castle and lay out my sweaters, I realized that I had come to an acquaintance that I hadn't had the pleasure of encountering for a long time: silence.

I was in utter and complete silence.

There was no sounds of cars, of traffic, or people, or waves.

I was cloaked in a shroud of silence and it never sounded so good. 


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