I’m walking the neighborhoods of this small Scottish village.

It’s too tiny to be called a “town”; maybe it’s a hamlet.

Like most to the world I’ve visited, this small place

situated on a huge sea sound of dark water, set against

those impressive hills of the highlands, is gearing more

and more for tourism. I pass

a large plate-glass window fronting on the sound,

and there is an elderly woman, brushing long silver hair,

sitting in a wheelchair, looking out over the rooftops

of this tiny spot that seems the place she might have been born

raised up all her life in her world here.

Her gaze, the kind you can’t resist,

looks past me to something out there,

the water or the mountains maybe.

Every house has a B and B sign hanging in the yard,

but not hers. I want to ask her what she’s seeing,

imagine an answer along the lines of

“My wilderness, what is still my home,

what is not a village arranged for strangers.”

And that would be me, so I keep walking

and she keeps staring, like ice of an age

that must never melt.

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