click photos once or twice to enlarge
I’ve been standing in the courtyard of the Royal Apartments once occupied by Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband (of three) Lord Darnley – prompted thereby to early-hours follow-up on their extraordinary story. Mary squeezed more into her 44 years than, well, more than most of us – Queen Consort of France, Queen of Scots, and an alleged would-be Queen of England. The weight of history here in Edinburgh sometimes roots me to the spot – and possessed already of the mind of a magpie, the synapses of my ‘hard drive’ flash, flicker, and sometimes overheat as I mentally flit from one point of fascination, horror, awe or delight to a stream of others.
Hours later I bought coffee at Starbucks! An early evening amble for groceries (via the University’s School of Law, as one does) is a real-life stepping into Dr Who’s Tardis and travelling through time. One moment you’re thinking of an assembly of surgeons in 1697 and the next you’re using a computer chip to pay for bread and milk. ‘We’ve got a lot to be grateful for’ proclaims the modern Festival Theatre – and I’m instantly reminded of the extent of my ignorance. There’s so much to be grateful for in Edinburgh that most of us ordinary mortals couldn’t begin to enumerate for what or how much.
One of many things I’m mulling over with friends is the extent to which happenstance and the choices we make, or have made for us, lead onwards to unfathomable heights and breadth and depth – and entirely unexpected life-consequences … ‘time like an ever-flowing stream …’ There is a very real sense in which, the more we learn to ‘go with the flow,’ the more we begin to see the unlimited possibilities of an ‘eternity’ – what John V Taylor described many years ago as ‘tomorrow’s bread, today.’
And now I’m listening to the mellifluous voice of Merlin Sheldrake reading from his ‘Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures’ whilst the images hereunder remind me of venerable history’s being juxtaposed with modern art; the collaborating hands of nature in earth and sea and sky and plant and flower, of humankind, of the animal world, of an extinct volcano, and (even) of fungi (!) making and remaking us all, moment by moment.
Aye. We’ve got a lot to be grateful for …
Academia . Jacobi . VI . Scotorum . Regis Anno . Post . Christum . Natum . MDLXXXII . Instituta Annoque . MDCCLXXXIX . Renovari . Coepta Regnante . Georgio . III . Principe . Munificentissimo Urbis . Edinensis . Praefecto . Thoma . Elder Academiae . Primario . Gulielmo . Robertson . Architecto . Roberto . Adam Edinburgh University, Founded 1582 in the Reign of King James VI of Scotland (or: The Academy of King James VI of Scotland Instituted in the Year 1582 After The Birth of Christ) Restoration undertaken during the Reign of His Majesty King George III in 1789 Thomas Elder, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh Dr William Robertson, Academic Head (Principal) Robert Adam, Architect