No. I didn't spell a word wrong in the title. Reay is my dear, dear mum-in-law. And although I regaled you previously with my love of Inverness, I want to speak of the true highlight of my visit to the Highlands.
This is going to sound a bit bizarre, but something that Jonathan and I chide Reay about every time we visit is her compulsion to do almost-constant laundry. However, we don't stop her from the laundry-doing because the clothes she returns to us are the cleanest, sweetest smelling clothes I have ever experienced. (Drowning in a sea of Reay's laundry is almost as appealing as getting lost for days in Leakey's floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.) I joked of this love of Reay's laundry to Karen before arriving on our recent visit, and Karen laughed. Only to quickly swallow her laughter and plead with Reay to wash all of the clothes in her suitcase so she could carry the scent of Reay's laundry home to the US. True story.
|Ah, laundry drying in the Scottish air.|
However, her laundry-goddess status is not the reason I love my Scottish mum. On the night of our arrival, she took us on a walk down to the Cromarty Firth (though I will neither confirm nor deny whether we hurdled over 2 train track barricades. Nevermind, I'll confirm it.)
|Look at that agility! Fearless Reay.|
Reay pointed out Fyrish up on the hill (which I'll talk more about in my next post), introduced us to the farmer's wife and the two farm dogs, steered us across the road because we still got confused about which direction to look for oncoming traffic, and blazed a trail through the reeds down to the water's edge.
|Reay and Karen|
I stood on the cusp of the firth, looking across at the Black Isle, smelling the cool briny air, hearing the wind rushing past my ears, feeling the wildness of the clouds and sea and land draw me into itself. And I knew, as I always do, that I had come home. The Rabbie Burns poem plays through my mind at moments like these: "My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go."
|Thank you, Karen, for this great pic!|
But my heart is in the Highlands, not because of the beauty or wildness or even the laundry. My heart is in the highlands because it is filled with the people I love. Those who have made me a part of their family--even when I was an awkward 23-year-old who had no idea what it meant to be married, til now as a 33-year-old aspiring writer and mother of 3 who peppers them with questions and keeps showing up on their doorsteps. I am honored to be part of this family. And while many of you, dear family, may be thinking, "Ach, lass, don't be daft," I will say it and keep saying it: I love you all.