The ‘Spectre’

I’ve partly been inspired to write this story while on a trip to Glen Coe in the West Highlands of Scotland, and today in particular where many years ago I was fortunate enough to witness a rare and beautiful atmospheric phenomenon atop the summit of Leum Uilliem, a place that holds a special place in my heart as the following story and memoire will make clear.

The other part of today’s inspiration stems from one of the AtoZchallenge posts from yesterday which stressed the importance of connecting with and really feeling what you’re writing, and my memories and feelings for this particular place I’m sure will bear witness to that.

Today was the first time I’ve returned to that particular spot in twenty years…

Those experienced in outdoor pursuits or simply possessing a love of the mountains and countryside will no doubt immediately recognise the phenomenon it for what it is from the photographs, but otherwise, the phenomenon becomes clearer towards the end of the story…

 

Image          Image       Image

 

The ‘Spectre’

It had been three years since his mum died; Liam was seven now and of an age when simply telling him his mum was in heaven really didn’t cut it anymore. It wasn’t just curiosity though that was spurring his questions, but fear – afraid that he was forgetting her just a little bit more with each passing day, and more so the fear that she might be forgetting him.

I tried explaining that memories weren’t like that, that you didn’t remember loved ones in the same way you remember the route to school or what you saw in a film, that memories were something much more special, that you felt them in your heart and at special times when you were feeling either sad or very happy. I could see in his eyes he was puzzling over what I was saying but not really understanding enough to allay the sadness I knew he was feeling. At that moment I would rather have been facing my most frightening and dangerous enemy than those questions to which I had no answers for, at least not for now…

It was the school holidays, a couple of weeks before the start of the Scottish deer stalking season, and I’d rented a small cottage for the two of us just a few miles from Corrour Station on the West Highland line, and ideal for taking Liam on his first ever proper climb up Leum Uilliem in the Glen Coe region of Scotland and home to the majestic Ben Nevis, highest mountain in the UK.

Needless to say that was the one Liam said we should tackle but the more interesting and difficult routes would have been too much for him, and as for the tourist path, it would have been chocked with ill-equipped day trippers trundling up in their flimsy trainers and even on occasion, flip-flops, hardly the example I wanted for Liam on his first climb; besides which, it’s really quite a boring trek going that way.

I had it in mind that taking him to some of the places me and his mum had spent so many happy times walking and climbing together might make him feel closer to her and generally cheer him up; actually telling him that he was almost certainly conceived in one of those places was probably a little more than even his inquiring young mind was quite ready for so perhaps another time for that little revelation. Beyond that I really didn’t know what else I could do.

We began our ascent of Leum Uilliem, one of the easier Corbetts at a shade under 3000ft, from Corrour Station, itself positioned at a height of 1,340ft, thus making the ascent a not too difficult one, though still quite a challenge for a seven year old given some of the terrain.

At the start, a corner of the Moor of Rannoch, we began our journey westwards across the moorland towards the northern ridge of the hill, crossing the Allt Coir’ a’ Bhric Beag along the deer stalking-path as we approached the crest of the ridge and then upwards to the south west, over Tom an Eoin while I explained about such paths and the deer stalking season of the following month. He didn’t seem to approve of deer stalking but I was pleased to note that his initial disappointment at not being able to tell all his mates when he returned to school had climbed the ‘Ben’ had all but disappeared.

His disapproval of deer stalking was so much like his mum’s, I thought at the time, as she too hated anything like that no matter how many time you explained its necessity; perhaps Liam would understand better…

“I think mum was right,” Liam proudly declared, “it’s wrong killing the deer.”

Obviously not! Well that told me in no uncertain terms, I couldn’t help thinking. I needn’t have worried about his dwelling on it though as soon enough, he was firing more and different questions about our trek at every juncture:

“What’s… Alt.. Coy.. a.. brick?” He asked, trying to interpret the pronunciation while looking at the map I had given him to hold.

“Well, let’s take a look at the book shall we?” I replied, taking out a small local guidebook from my rucksack.

“Allt means stream, and Bhric Beag means speckled and small, and Coir’.. It’s not here but It means corrie, and altogether it roughly means stream of the speckled corrie.. You’ll soon get used to seeing words and names like these as you do more map reading”

“And what about that one… Tom an E..oin?”

“Ahh, that’s an easy one,” I said, “it means knoll of the bird.. or eagle maybe.”

“And what’s… Lee.. Um… Oo.. Illiem.. ?” I couldn’t help but chuckle at his struggle with the spelling, and Liam chuckled too…

“It means William’s Leap.” Liam looked at me, not even trying to hide his puzzled frown…

“And before you ask, no one really knows who William was, or why he leapt, it’s something that’s long since been forgotten.”

“Okay.” Was his short and accepting reply; perhaps I had been was wrong, and he really wasn’t bothered who William was or why he might have leapt. And on that note we continued our trek, slowly gaining height as we turned eastwards across the saddle of and up the broad ridge towards the spacious summit of Leum Uilliem, or ‘William’s Leap’ as I had previously and as it seemed, unnecessarily explained.

We had been at it for the best part of nearly three hours by now and the summit was in sight. It had been quite a hard slog what with the rain the previous day making much of the ground hard going, and I could tell the effort was beginning to tell a bit, but not once did he complain or appear to lose interest. Right at that moment I couldn’t have been prouder of my little trooper, and instead of denting his own pride in asking him if he needed to rest I discreetly slowed the pace right down before declaring I needed a quick rest before our final push to the summit…

“Okay dad, if you like…” he happily agreed.

“So son, how have you enjoyed our day so far?”

“It’s been great dad, and the map reading, that’s been fun too, but I still don’t get the compass and … bearings thingy yet.”

“Don’t you worry about that, we’ll do more of that another time.”

“Was mum good at… Maps and things?” He asked, quite out of the blue.

“Ermm, yes, sort of, but… Between you and me I think she was probably a lot better than she let on, but she preferred enjoying the scenery than doing the hard work and thinking bit.” Liam laughed out loud at that before munching into a sandwich.

“Shall we kick off again then matey?” I asked, hoisting my rucksack back on.

“Yep, let’s go!” He replied eagerly, lifting himself up to join me.

The extensive views from the top were simply stunning, embracing moors, lochs and innumerable summits…

“You’re right dad, it’s great up here,” Liam declared, “I reckon mum must have really loved it.”

His back and face slightly turned away from me as he stared across the landscape, some several feet away from me. I recognised that tone of voice, it was the one he had when he sometime got upset when thinking about his mum. I saw his hand raise up to wipe his face, no doubt rubbing away the tears he didn’t want me to see. Perhaps it was just as well he was turned away from me otherwise he might have seen me doing much the same thing a moment later.

“I know son…” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“I won’t forget her, I promise dad.”

“Of course you won’t, just as she won’t forget you either.. She’s out there.. Somewhere, watching us… And smiling no doubt at how muddy and dirty we are.”

Liam turned his head to look up at me: “You really think so?”

“You betcha’ son.” I said with all the conviction and certainty I could muster, and for that brief moment I believed it too.

And then I saw it, in the distance, pointing to draw Liam’s attention to it too…

“What’s that dad?” Liam asked excitedly, adding, “it looks like a rainbow, but not like the ones I’ve seen.”

I was about to explain but something stopped me as the germ of an idea began to take shape…

“Try moving to the side a bit and look it straight on.” I urged. He moved as I suggested and stared open mouthed in amazement…

“It’s… It’s like… An angel standing in the middle dad…”

“Not just an angel son, I told you mum was looking out as us from somewhere..”

“You mean…?”

“Maybe… Why not give her a wave, see if she doesn’t see and wave back?”

I stepped a few paces back and to the side as Liam gingerly raised an arm before waving at the figure in the circular rainbow, silently praying that the conditions were right for what I was hoping…

“Dad!” Liam shouted, “dad, dad, look… She waving back, look dad, she’s waving back at me…”

I had never gone much on religion and God, and even less so with the things and I’d seen and done in my past career, but I mouthed a silent ‘thank you’. By now of course, Liam was waving like a madman at the angelic figure, utterly mesmerised by its apparent responses, utterly convinced his mum was joining in the fun.

An elderly couple were looking on from a short distance away, they too probably there either to just enjoy the moment or perhaps reliving memories of their own.

I strolled towards them and briefly explained about Liam and his mum, and how he believed he was waving back at her in the rainbow.

They of course knew the truth, that it was just an optical illusion brought about by a unique set of weather conditions, of the sun shining from behind us as we stared down from the ridge into the mist below while the light projected shadows through the mist, and Liam’s movements seemingly reflected in that of the ghostly figure…

The old woman smiled and started to cry, just a little, but with a beaming smile across her face. Her husband put his arm around her, and gave her a gentle hug and thanked me for sharing the moment with them.

And in that moment we shared an unspoken understanding and so there was no need for them to promise not to shatter the illusion once the phenomenon passed…

I turned back towards where Liam was still waving and dancing at the shadowy figure and made my way over. By now the rainbow was starting to dissipate, and the angelic shadow was losing its form…

“Bye mum,” I heard Liam softly say… “Love you…”

I put my hand on his shoulder once again…

“Where did you go dad? Why didn’t you stay and wave with me?”

“It’s okay son, it was you she wanted to see and tell how much she loved and remembered. That was your special moment. It’s why I brought you here, I had a feeling mum would be somewhere about to say hello.”

I had no idea of course that we would see a ‘Brocken Spectre’ that day; I’d seen such phenomena several times on Mt. Snowden, and a few more times in Germany too, but never one quite so spectacular in this part of the world.

On those previous occasions I had often wondered what our ancestors might have thought, that maybe some peasant farmer on the hills of Macedonia might be thinking he’s staring down or across at the inhabitants of Mt Olympus, or even some Gaelic tribesman closer to home, truly believing himself to be staring into the very soul of some pagan god, but right now nothing could have been further from my mind, all I could see was my happy little boy who really believed me when I told him his mum was in heaven and still loved and remembered him.

I wouldn’t normally of lied to Liam, but seeing his face, seeing all his fears and tears disappear I thought I might reasonably be forgiven, just this once…

About echoesofthepen

Middle aged man, aspiring writer and author, one grown up son and young grand son, currently working in the rail industry but actively working to develop a writing career.

Posted on April 10, 2014, in Amateur writing, Short Stories and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 60 Comments.

  1. Loved reading this, very touching. I also hope I get to visit some of these places one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Been a bit lazy of late in my replies. Am pleased you liked, it’s a very special piece to me as you can imagine. And yes, there are some magical places in the world that really should be experienced…

      Thanks as always,
      Paul…

      Like

  2. Lovely writing. I love Scotland. Paulette

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a lovely story that I couldn’t put down, and clever with the way it was thought out and written.I am so glad I got the chance to read this. Well done Paul, inspiring. Had to share it with my Facebook friends. Must read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you so much for visiting Vicki !!! Am pleased you enjoyed it, and thanks and many more thanks for sharing it on Facebook too, you’re a real star!

      For anyone who doesn’t know, Vicki started the Facebook group ‘Creative Writers Uk’ where I’ve met some really nice people and writers, as well gleaming lots of useful advice and links.

      Great to hear from you again,
      Best wishes,
      Paul…

      Like

  4. This was very moving Paul, a beautiful piece of writing. My son enjoys climbing and has done the three peaks in Wales, and keen to climb more! Climbing and walking up mountains, through valleys, woodlands, etc are dear to me, and allow me to be reflective.
    I’ve yet to see a natural phenomenon like this spectre, though I’d love to, and you know what rainbows mean to me!
    Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lisa.

      Anyhow, thanks for stopping by. It was only after writing this I thought again of your book, and the distant though connected themes.

      I’m so pleased your son enjoyed such things, and that you have the opportunity to enjoy and share them with him, (probably more than I can really explain here).

      Regarding the spectre I refer to in my memoire, if you’ve not heard of it before you can google ‘Brocken Spectre’ for a more detailed explanation of the phenomenon.

      * For anyone else reading these comments, Lisa is the author of my favourite book of 2013, Beneath the The Rainbow.

      Sincerest regards,
      Paul..

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard of broken spectres but have yet to see one, I’d love to! I love all these natural phenomena…especially when they’re slightly paranormal! I have a thing for moon coronas too, and have seen plenty of them, I’d love to have a camera that would take pics of them though!

        Liked by 1 person

        • …and spellcheck just changed that to broken not brocken lol

          Liked by 1 person

          • Lol… My posts are riddled with typos. I tend to write and post ‘as is’ so to speak. I am however proof reading and editing all the master drafts of my stories before publishing my anthology (most of them haven’t been posted on here so no one will see any typos in them, at least I hope not).

            I probably won’t be posting that many stories on here in the future, I think most people have got on idea of what and how I write now. Instead I hope to concentrate on more book reviews and some author interview/profile posts, so if you’d ever be interested in doing an author interview/profile in the near future or when time allows please let me know…

            Thanks,
            Paul…

            Like

  5. By the way – Not just an angle son, I told you mum was looking out as us from somewhere..” I think there is a spelling error here, it should be “angel”….am I right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes indeed you are, I’ll attend to that right this instant! (my ‘excuse’ is that I was finishing writing that in the early hours of the morning, and after a very long and hard day’s walking). Well spotted and thanks for pointing it out…

      Like

  6. Absolutely touching and emotional. You know I never shared this with anybody earlier on the internet, but when I was 15, I lost my mother. Crushed and disappointed with God, I was in tears alone in my house when I felt a presence right by my side. It was something hard to explain but I was so scared suddenly that I turned on the lights and ran out, when I came in nothing was there. I often say to myself it was my imagination, but I actually felt someone in the room trying to hug me. I know weird and unbelievable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I know what you mean about sharing things, it took me twenty years to write about this. Such accounts as yours, and thank you for sharing it here, often do sound weird and unbelievable, but they happen far too often to all be attributed to tricks of the light, or just what we want to believe. I find it quite reassuring in a way that there are still things that defy explanation but can still bring us hope and comfort.

      Like

  7. Quite a moment there, Paul. A healing for the boy and a relief for the father. I feel the relief, the healing, and when the strangers appear and the woman cries, the ‘humanness’ in the story is complete. A touching human experience.
    I, however, think you should not have explained the mystery. Let it be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about ‘letting it be’, as Damyantig raised a similar point, but as I explained to her, if it was purely a story I had been writing and for the entertainment of the reader, that’s precisely what I would have done, but this was one occasion when I wasn’t really thinking about the reader, but was writing purely for myself, wanting to write it exactly or as near to as I remembered things as I could. cheers for taking the time to read it nonetheless, always appreciated Peter…

      Regards, Paul…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the mix of fact, explanation and family in this. I felt like I was balanced as I read it, but like you were in control of where I was heading. Almost like being in a canoe with outriggers. Thanks for giving us such a special, moving and interesting bit to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That was lovely, thank you. I had never heard of that phonomenon before, and explaining it didn’t take away the magic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to say you liked, and am equally pleased the explanations didn’t spoil anything for you; I thought since most readers probably wouldn’t have witnessed or even heard of the phenomenon I thought it best to include a little bit of explanation, as well the fact that it was primarily a memoire rather than a story…

      It’s quite a rare phenomenon but if you’re a regular mountain walker it’s something you’re likely to see sooner or later (it might actually take several years).

      Appreciate you stopping by..

      Thanks,
      Paul…

      Like

  10. Just got around to reading this. I remember you telling me a bit of this story when me, you and Brian took Liam trekking through the Cairngorms one summer about fifteen years ago? I’ve enjoyed most of your stories on here, but this one takes it to a whole new level, a real tear jerker even for an old sweat like me.
    On the downside, and i have to say it, you’re a much better writer than you ever were a soldier old son, lol. Speak to you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmmm… putting aside the last two lines (which I’ll put down to your advancing years), thanks.. and yes, Liam was about twelve at the time, so yes it would be about that long… Where’s all the time gone?

      Like

  11. Very moving Paul !

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well, I’m glad I made sure I had time to read it (as opposed to skimming through, which you tend to do a lot of on the net).

    Thank you, Paul, for a moving and reflective story. I’m guessing you and your son are very close, which is as it should be, but too often not. And this experience must have had a very powerful effect on you both.

    I’ve never heard of this phenomenon, and I guess it’s not the kind of thing you can book to go and see, so maybe I’ll have to get out in the hills and mountains much more than I’ve ever done in the past.

    Great writing. Looking forward to working my way through your back catalogue!

    Graeme

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your observations and for saying such nice things here Graeme, though you’ll probably find most of my ‘back catalogue’ to be somewhat more humorous and light-hearted, apart from one or two pieces and the book reviews of course, but I’m really pleased you enjoyed this particular piece – and a huge thanks for the FB share of it and for the attention it’s getting there too…

      Much appreciated,
      Paul…

      Like

  13. This story had such a sense of place. And I loved the emotion with which it ended. Could we perhaps not be told what it was, leave it a mystery the reader has to figure out? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Am pleased you enjoyed it, and thanks for taking the time to pause from your busy schedule as I know you’ve pretty much got your plate full at the moment with the AtoZ challenge, which makes it all the more appreciated…

      I know what you mean about leaving an element of mystery about it, and had I simply been writing a ‘story’ as such I probably would have. Most of my stories are as you know, fairly light-hearted, intended to entertain the reader but this was a bit different for me. I know this is going to sound very selfish as a writer, but on this one occasion it wasn’t the ‘reader’ who was upper-most in my mind, but ‘me ‘I was writing for – I wanted to write what happened as close to how I remember that day as I could, including the conversation with the old couple, my thoughts at the time, and everything else.

      All the best for now, and best of luck too with the marvellous job you’re doing on the A to Z challenge…

      Regards,
      Paul…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It doesn’t sound selfish at all. I had no idea this one really had a personal resonance for you– 99% of my stories don’t so I goofed up and assumed that yours were as impersonal as mine.

        Hope writing this out helped you, because in this story, that’s what seems to be important.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. The real trouble with the world today is (in my humble opinion, of course), that people have stopped believing in just about everything. Some would argue that this is inevitable, given the march of science and discovery. Maybe so. But it is a great shame to believe that there is no magic left anywhere, whatsoever. And I would suggest it is a mistake, too. Much of the mental illness associated with the demands of modern day society can be laid at the door of our refusal to believe in anything at all, be it God or magic or even good manners, dare I say. Magic and wonder are essential for the human soul to thrive, and go back to something primeval in us stretching back to the dawn of human presence on this earth. This is just about the biggest help you could have given Liam, and even when he grows up and looks back to the incident with grown-up eyes, he will appreciate what you did, I assure you, and even then he will believe, in a little corner of his heart, where it will forever stay shielded from the cynicism of his grown up self. This kind of story has a profound effect on people, as it did on me, bringing tears to my eyes. You succeeded in just the right tone without appearing too sentimental. And who are you, I, or anyone else to say that all Liam saw was an optical illusion! People see what they want to see, and this is the secret of their survival. And we believe what we want to believe, be it true or not, and this also is a secret of our survival. Never take magic away—we would be so poor without it. We need it more than all the cars and fridges and holidays and computers and fine wines, big houses etc that money can buy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks John. You’re quite right when you say/suggest that science and discovery may have contributed to an increased lack of ‘belief’ in all manner of things. Thankfully though, magic and that sense of wonder and a belief in something that we can’t explain, pigeon hole, or simply dismiss out of hand will always exist in the mind and imagination of a child.

      Liam did of course grow up, he’s twenty seven now with a son of his own, and of course, was eventually able to view that day more dispassionately, but yes, he still remembers it as a very special one. We both know and understand the science behind some of what happened, but that isn’t to say there wasn’t just a little bit of’ real’ magic there too; the Spectre itself ‘may’ have been an illusion, but the timing and place, that was truly magical, and whilst as I said I’m not really one for god and religion, I still found myself praying that things would turn out as they did, and offering a silent ‘thank you’ to ‘whoever or whatever’ when they did. And whilst we all have to grow up, and so lose some of that belief, perhaps that’s as it should be, that we’re only ever meant to get a fleeting glimpse of that magic, otherwise it might cease to be special or be taken for granted, I really don’t know.

      As adults we might become more cynical about such things as magic or belief but it’s still a comforting thought to know they still exist in the minds of our children, and when it disappears in them, it’ll one day exist again in the our children’s children and so on.

      Thanks so much John for taking the time to say the things you did here, as I think they may have re-awakened just a little of that belief in me too…

      Sincerely,
      Paul..

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A fantastic story, filled with beauty, innocence and sentiment. A worthy ode to Scotland, to loss, and the life that remains. Fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A beautiful story, Paul. Thank you for sharing such a special moment. I needed a tissue too when I reached the end. It’s great to meet you on the A-Z 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such a nice response. I’ve been trying to follow and comment/tweet on as many of the AtoZ posts as I can of the people I know/follow, and some of those I’ve discovered along the way; it’s a pleasure to have discovered yours as well…

      Like

  17. As I’ve often been told in the past about some of my poetry, ‘there should have been a tissue warning at the start of that …’
    I must congratulate you Paul on a well-related tale; albeit a true one. It’s easier to write what you know, but that doesn’t mean that how you write it is going to be good. I’m delighted to say that on this occasion, we have a writer who took what he knew, and made an extremely good, and dare I say, touching story from it.
    There were a couple of minor typos in there, and overlong sentences, but they are easily overlooked when the storytelling aspect is done so well.
    I particularly liked your dialogue, which in my humble opinion has improved in quite a short time.
    A short story needs a hook – which this had. The story should have a character who changes in some way between what he was at the beginning, and how he feels or acts at the end – which happened. The reader should feel an empathy with at least one of the characters – which all your readers have, including this one. The imagery should relate well to the reader’s imagination – and it did, including the brief inclusion of the elderly couple.
    Well done mate.
    p.s. The Highlands are my favourite place on earth and I’ve only ever seen the Brocken Spectre once – when I was adventure training, up Ben More in 1970.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting, especially on this piece. I wasn’t even sure I was going to post this until I had first spoken to Liam about it – it’s always a dilemma when publishing something a bit personal and when it involves another person’s feelings too, but thankfully he was happy for me to relate that day.

      I agree about your poetry, and especially with the ‘Military Matters’ anthology, I did find myself ‘welling up’ a bit and having to stop and take a breath several times, just to regain a bit of composure as I’m sure a number of other readers of some of those times will have to have done. but it’s a credit to you to have succeeded in drawing such an emotional reaction.

      I know I should have put it aside for awhile and taken another look at it and an edit/revision beforehand, but I really wanted to post it on the day I re-visited that spot, especially after my son had said he didn’t mind. I am doing that with several other pieces though, and maybe sometime when you’re not too busy you might take a look at them?

      Regarding all the elements you describe, it’s hard for me to take any credit as they were all there already, all I had to do was remember the day as it happened and how I felt at the time.

      Of the Brocken Spectres I’ve seen in the past, most have been rather fleeting in and around Mt Snowdon, and only just recognisable as such, but the one that day was a real beauty in every way.

      Cheers as always, not just for the appreciation of the piece, but also your customary insight and analysis, I just wish I had the same understanding and analytical skills to return the compliment more often and effectively.

      Yes, I know Ben More and the surrounding area quite well; Veronica Haider who you know, mentions her own memories of the Trossachs in her reply here – I can think of much worse places for adventure training, and am glad it brought back a memory for you Tom..

      Sincere thanks,
      Your friend and writing buddy,
      Paul..

      Like

  18. You are right Paul. I can’t get enough of that area.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That was simply beautiful, Paul. I loved it. :))

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Simply amazing… Loved it… Great touching story….

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Beautiful piece, you conjured up some vivid imagery and prose to accompany the emotional core…I grew up in the Highlands in a village near Aviemore and my wee brother made a film about the phenomenon ‘Broken Spectre’ when he was a bit younger so I felt a link. Great work 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a marvellous place to grow up, and I believe you live in Edinburgh now if I’m not mistaken? Another great place to live, so much splendour within immediate reach, and the Edinburgh festival right on your doorstep too, what more could you ask?

      Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at this piece and commenting. Am pleased you liked it and think the imagery and the emotional aspects gelled okay.

      Sadly I haven’t seen another Brocken Spectre on my current trip to Scotland, but still a few more days to go yet – and a film about one quite intrigues me…

      Cheers,
      Paul

      Liked by 1 person

  22. This is such a beautiful, moving story – I really loved it! I grew up in Scotland and we spent many happy times trekking up in the Trossachs and beyond. I remember one Boxing Day hike up in Glencoe – an ice cold, glittering day with just a dusting of snow. It must have been one of our last family Christmases, because we were all quite grown up. An amazing sense of being at one with nature and together with my brother and sister in the days before life got complicated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you indeed for that. It’s not the sort of personal memoire I would normally write, but it was such a special time and moment back then, and combined with being back at the same spot again and just the whole atmosphere of where I am I just thought it was time to put it into words. And yes, it’s a shame life has to get so complicated when much of it really needn’t be so..
      Thanks
      Paul…

      Like

  23. Christine Millington

    You know I actually cried a little when I read this, just like the old woman on the summit. One of the most beautiful and heart string tugging stories and recollections I’ve read. I can’t even begin to grasp the magic of that moment when your son truly believed he was waving back at his mum in a rainbow. I loved the way you interjected little moments of humour into the story, just as our everyday lives contain such moments.
    I also scrolled down and read the tribute verses to your dad. I’m no poetry expert but I have read a little, and I thought they were very moving and full of feeling whatever the technical short comings so I think you should definitely pursue your efforts in combining them with a book. What would be interesting would be to read your son’s perspective or account of the above story one day, and having read your tribute to your dad, I can’t help feeling that one day your own son will be writing such fond words of his dad

    A really beautiful and uplifting story borne out of loss, a real gem.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My goodness, and thank you so much for such kind and thoughtful words, some of the nicest I’ve ever received on here. I’ve never really thought about Liam writing anything about me, but it’s a lovely thought and sentiment you’ve raised – I suppose it’s as much as we can hope for to be remembered fondly, and having been and done the best we can, both in our own lives and for those we love. And thank you for the encouraging words about the poetry and the book..

      Best wishes,
      Paul..

      Like

  24. A wonderful story about a wonderful place

    Liked by 2 people

  25. A story to touch your heart and one that simply tells that a miracle doesn’t necessarily have to be an inexplicable phenomenon, just inexplicably perfectly timed. For me, one such moment was a butterfly at my feet in my garden one early October morning; unexpected in the far north of England at that time of year, but perfectly timed. I would love to see what you describe in this story, though I fear I am not prepared for the hard work it would take on the off chance the ‘angel’ would appear for me. And there’s another story idea right there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Am pleased you appreciated it. Winter in the north of England certainly wouldn’t be the most comfortable of places for the delicacy of a butterfly, so you were fortunate indeed to glimpse one…

      Another story idea? I’m intrigued…

      btw, have also been reading a little of your book each day whilst here, and it’s certainly living up to Tom’s praise and review. My own to follow when I return to London…

      All the best,
      Paul…

      Liked by 1 person

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