25.03.2015 - 25.03.2015
We were surrounded by castles in every direction and water a bit further out, as we stood in the capital city of Edinburgh, on the coast of Scotland. People were buzzing around us - some of them clearly amidst their daily routine which was made evident by their attire and pace, while others, like us, were there to soak in the surroundings. Edinburgh is the seventh largest city in the UK and although words like "city" and "population" typically make us run the other direction, we knew when we stepped foot into Castle Square (also referred to as the Royal Mile) that several hours in this place before heading to northern Scotland wouldn't be enough. The city has a great feel to it and there is something to be seen in every direction.
We had put our pounds into the parking meter and knew our time in the city was now limited. We were standing on the street corner with a priority list that included food, castles, and photos - each item vying for first place. As we ventured down the hill to look for food, I caught a glimpse of one of the dark, looming castle on my left, with an opening of blue sky in the background. It would have been a perfect shot before the clouds rolled in. Food first, we'd decided. I wasn't three steps down the hill and already looking back (with a frown, I'm sure) before Luke turned me around to go grab the picture I wanted. I ran and set my shot up, while they walked slowly to find food. As I was happily snapping photos of the luminous castle, I watched the clouds roll in to take over its blue sky backdrop. I smiled at the opportunity I'd almost missed and the memory I'd just secured. I know better. If not now...when? There is no time to waste in this life. And this is just a castle and a photo. It was the same frame of mind that brought us to Scotland. We had a few extra days and were able to get very inexpensive flights from Ireland. If not now, when? I thought about my career in this light and know that the last several years have shown me that although patience is the skill of a warrior, movement is its counterpart and there will come a time when it is required (like it or not, thank you Sweet Jesus). My papa always told us travel was the best form of education. Correct, Papa Bear!
After Edinburgh, we found the William Wallace Monument in the middle of nowhere so that Jaden could swing Sir Bamboo at its base. For clarification sake, this is a piece of bamboo that he found on the beach in Sligo, Ireland, and he has been convinced that it washed up from China until a couple of days ago when he saw bamboo growing on the Blarney Castle grounds as well. Regardless, Luke used Sir Bamboo to knight him in Ireland and he is hoping to be knighted here in Scotland as well. I'd like to note that Luke made Sir Bamboo into a 3 foot weapon and stuffed him into his backpack for carry-on to Scotland for this purpose. For further note, Jaden was very disappointed that there was not one sword for purchase in Ireland and is hopeful that Scotland will be more promising, at which point Sir Bamboo may retire. That's a dedicated Dad.
As we walked around the Monument, I thought about my own life. If not now...when? I have much to learn yet. William Wallace said, "Your heart is free; have the courage to follow it." Those are tall orders, but I'm working on it. Speak honestly. Be bold. Forgive. Be grateful for what you have. Trust. And of course...Love always. Cheers to you, Braveheart!