Eyes and minds turn to the far north-east of Europe, to the rugged land beyond Hadrian’s Wall.
We as a family are already there, deep into the glens, the roots and the clans of the Stewarts, Wilsons and MacKenzies - the maze of identity and wanting to understand something of where we come from.
I wasn’t going to write about Scotland’s knife-edge parliamentary election, just a month away, but it is compelling. The result will, either way, reverberate across the continent.
As the quake worsens within the ruling SNP pro-independence party caused by the truth tussle between past and current leaders Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon (much to the certain pleasure of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson) then all bets are off.
Sturgeon, a beacon of coherent common sense during the pandemic and up until this point well able to rally what appeared to be sufficient support for a second referendum, is now on the ropes, as is her and her supporters’ fundamental endeavour. A clear SNP majority is no longer probable, say the opinion polls. No majority, no mandate. But these are exceptional times. Memories have shortened to but a few days. The general news frenzy is numbing. Truths are lost in the storm of opinions. It remains anyone’s call.
If the SNP gets a majority and organises a second referendum, will more European leaders end up in the dock, in exile, in prison?
With comparisons endlessly drawn, with the EU opening the doors for further political trials in Spain, it is not hard to feel the tremors.
I am not an obsessively political animal, but I hold firmly to the values of non-violence, to democracy and the courage at the darkest times of dialogue, compromise and conciliation. I support identity and grass-roots self-reliance within a federal world adhering to a common moral code of equality, responsibility, peace. We are, of course, still an insane distance away from that, hence my constant encouragements, chiefly to self, to first and foremost prioritising the sustaining of the natural world and communities that sustain us.
Parochialism, the focus and care of fundamentals - what and who we exist alongside, unity with our surroundings - is the key to fulfilment and common purpose. I define it as not detrimentally insular. That is impossible in this global age. I value it as the foundation for fine-tuned principals with which to face the universal. All great civilisations, poet Patrick Kavanagh rightly defined, are based on parochialism.
It matters more than anything who we are, how we identify. Failure to acknowledge and nurture this, to seed histories of respect and conciliation, is madness.
How on Earth do governments still not understand that history condenses the essence of causes and that, where force is applied, what is laid down is the indelible, undeniable accumulation of evidence supporting a cause? Yet it happens again and again, forever compounding, perpetuating.
Once more I give thanks for the people, and the nature, around me.