A Place to Coll

10 (GM 10). Clabhach, with ruined dwelling in middle foreground, 2009.

The Tiny Island in the
Middle of My Last Name

I’d already been around the block a few times when somebody commented about the Isle of Coll, off the coast of Scotland. Yet to set foot on this tiny speck of land half a world away from my place of birth, I fancy that it shares a lost link with my ancestors. Or something.
The Celt, the Norse, and the Vikings all battled and took brief residence there. But apart from 220 year-round er Collers? – whose descendants would rather get lost out in the world than to be bound by its rocky shores – Coll has few followers of note. Beside us, of course.
But despite dreaming of visiting it, I’ve hardly made any real plans, so don’t take this humble elegy to a spot I know little about as a crass infomercial; we could bet our passports that no resident is likely to read this post, or care about my personal inkling in writing about it.
Still, everyone needs a dream or two to invoke, when all else around seems so bleak and hopeless, and mine may as well be the Isle of Coll. I wonder whether it’s the bucolic vibe that surrounds the place, or its foreignness, what propels me to dream about it, when all goes quiet.

Which is surprising since I’d be always inclined to favor much warmer temperatures, rather than the brisk walks recommended on every brochure and Website about the island. It may also be a certain melancholy about its isolation and insularity what appeals to me.
There’s no need to bore you into oblivion about some pseudo-ancestry and possible connection to such alien geography. There’s very little of
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that emotional universe that I personally own or even begin to understand. Thus this may be a way to share with you some sliver of meaning borrowed from the outskirts of my being.
As I’ve said, someday I’ll take that three-hour ferry ride from Oban, and brave the constant breeze, just to strike a closer acquaintance with the land of my father’s name. Perhaps a time-stamped visa will be a theme to casually exchange accented rapports with the locals.
If I ever get there, sharing this corner of my identity with readers far and away, mostly of whom I’ll never meet, will be central to my thoughts. Then, short of sending postcards, looking back at this moment will be just like writing a quick note to each one of those I’d have left behind.

(*) Originally published on Feb. 19, 2013.

A Place to Coll

10 (GM 10). Clabhach, with ruined dwelling in middle foreground, 2009.

The Tiny Island in the
Middle of Our Last Name

We’d already been around the block a few times when we learned about the Isle of Coll, off the coast of Scotland. We’re yet to set foot on this tiny speck of land half a world away from our place of birth, that may share a lost link with our ancestors.
The Celt, the Norse and the Vikings once battled and took upon temporary residence there, but apart from its 200 year-round inhabitants, their descendents spread out throughout the world, and a legion of summer tourists, Coll has only a few followers to note. Which, of course, includes us.
Despite telling ourselves that we plan on getting there for a visit, we’ve hardly made any plans, so don’t take this humble elegy to a place we know little about as a crass infomercial; we could bet our IDs that no current resident will ever read this post, or care about our personal inkling in writing about it.
Still, everyone needs a dream or two, to invoke when all else around seems so bleak and hopeless, and ours may as well be the Isle of Coll. You’re probably on to our bias towards the place, by now, though. It may be the somewhat bucolic vibe that surrounds it what propels us to even talk about it.

Which is surprising since we’d be always inclined to favor a much warmer climate to embrace us, rather than the ‘brisk walks’ recommended on every brochure and Website about the island. It may also be a certain melancholy about its isolation and insularity what appeals to us.
There’s no need to bore you into oblivion about our pseudo-ancestry and possible connection to that foreign geography. There’s very little of that emotional universe that we personally own or even begin to understand. Thus we may be sharing with you only a sliver of meaning, one borrowed from the outskirts of our being.
As we said, someday we may take that three-hour ferry ride from Oban, and brave that constant breeze, just so to strike a closer acquaintance with the land of our name. We may go for much more than just stamping our passport, and casually exchanging some rapport with the locals.
If we ever get there, then, we’ll be thinking about a time, deep in the past, when we shared with readers a private, and probably senseless, aspiration. Short of sending postcards, looking back at this moment will be just like writing a quick note to each one of those we’ve left behind.