Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ancient Rosslyn


I think, perhaps, the only thing harder than saying goodbye is having to do it in stages. That is how I now find myself having to say goodbye to these people, this country, this unforgettable summer. It's not a sudden shift, one day here and the next day gone, but rather it comes in waves of bittersweet parting. 

My first goodbyes were to my internship. It's such a strange concept, saying goodbye to someone you have seen everyday for thirty days straight, without fail. I could not have wished for a better supervisor or a better internship. It was so much more then just a fabulous work experience, it was a unforgettable life enhancing experience. I gained so much insight and knowledge not only about the inner workings of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and arts management but about myself as well. But one of the last few things my supervisor did for me was, in the final days of my internship, re-introduce me to Edinburgh. 

It's funny, even when you're only in a place for a short while (i.e. two months) you can find yourself becoming overly accustomed to your surroundings. More often than not, in the process of developing our rhythms and routines, we can lose some of the wonder and awe that fills us when we first discover a new place. Though I never felt out of charm with Edinburgh, I was beginning to become a bit used to it. I believed that I was familiar with the city to the point that there were few, if any, secrets I had left to discover. Well, here's the grand lesson I've learned; any place, whether it be a town of 2,000 or a city of 2 million, always has more to see and discover then any person could possibly perceive. 

Inspired by the convenience of location and scheduling, my supervisor decided we ought to go on an impromptu trip to see Rosslyn Chapel. Rosslyn Chapel lies about 15 min (or less) outside the city of Edinburgh. Though Rosslyn Chapel has been a popular tourist attraction for many years, it is most recently famous for serving as the scene of the climax in Dan Brown's world wide best selling novel, The Da Vinci code. While I cannot confirm or deny Brown's implications about Mary Magdalene being buried beneath the chapel, I cannot fault him for desperately wanting it to be so. There is a hallowedness to that place that transcends religion. To me, it's holiness lies not in it's associations with God but with man. The Chapel is a testament to the artistry and ingenuity of man kind. There is not a square inch of that building that is not laden with layer upon layer of stony symbolism. Every crevice has a purpose, an intention. In fact, more often than not, it has more than one.

Aside from the obviousness that is Rossyln's beauty, that was the other thing I loved so much about the place; it fluidity and ability to be open to so many different interpretations. The complexity of Rosslyn's  architectural designs don't lend themselves to just one function or to just one truth, instead they have many. The famous green man carvings highlight are an example of the dimensionality of the Chapel. The image of a man emerging from the leaves is one of the most famous carving in the entirety of the Chapel. But no one's exactly sure what the carving is supposed to represent. Many assume it's a hidden homage to paganism and the worship of nature. Others believe that the image is a reference to the biblical story of Adam and his son, Seth. There are countless other theories, almost as many as there are depictions of the green man (according to the guide there were 120 at the last count.) I find there to be a kind of beauty and equality in Rosslyn's secrecy and uncertainty; there's simply so much there and so much we don't know about the Chapel that no one can ever be entirely right or wrong. 

A pink and brown sandstone exterior, dappled grey rock on the interior, set against the lush green of the beginning of the highlands, Rossyln serves as a monument to the Edinburgh I first fell in love with eight short weeks ago. This is not a country or terrain where survival is for the weak of heart, and the wear and tear on the Chapel attests to this sentiment. But the Chape is also demonstrative of the real magic of this place; unexpected wonder. Rosslyn lies at the end of a road, on the outskirts of a town, which is already on the outskirts of Edinburgh. If you didn't know where to look, you might never even know it was there. But that's Edinburgh's draw and a lesson I'm glad I relearned during my last few days here; there's something beautiful waiting to be explored and discovered where ever you go, you just have to take the time to look.

The time is drawing near to leave not only my fringe family but Edinburgh itself. But while we still have a few precious hours left together, I'm going to savor them and discover as much as I still can,until the absolute last possible second. 

1 comment:

  1. Much in life is about the vision we use to view it.

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