Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Tag Archives: scotland

Leaving Scotland


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I guess I am leaving Scotland. I will be gone until the end of December, and I am in mourning. I am going to miss most of October, November, and almost all of December.

Let me begin with the very clear statement that I am going to be insanely happy to be with my kids, my pets and my friends. This post in no way reflects on that joy .

But I am  not sure how to leave this place. The leaves are turning! The air is crisp, the sky is bluer than any blue, unless it is greyer than grey. The smell of fireplaces is in the air. The variety of apples in the grocer is staggering. How come I am not making apple crumbles that we all ravish in front of the fire, instead of making packing lists?

At night we have to close the windows in bed, while reading, or writing, or our fingers get numb. Then open them again, and burrow down under down comforters,  sleeping/hibernating like woodland animals.

Cuilean is almost 10 months old!!

I am in love with a place. There is not a single day that I don’t come around a bend, or over a rise, when I am not overwhelmed by some moment of beauty.

Scotland does not come gently. There is nothing subtle about this place. When I first moved into this house with a tiny puppy, it was the dead of winter. The fires burned unless I was asleep, the shutters were closed in all the rooms, to keep out the cold that sort of wrapped itself around the stone walls of this house. The first record of this house is in 1632, but the house we live in, was built for the most part, in the 18th century. It is all made of stone. There is a fireplace in each room, for very good reason.

I come home from work in the winter, and grab some wood from the woodpile and build the evening kitchen fire. There I, or we, if Ron is here, spend the evening. With all the shutters closed, the fire going, and the AGA churning, it is like a warm womb. When it is time for bed, we bolt upstairs to crawl under the blankets waiting for the chill to leave the sheets. The wind HOWLS, and the bare trees sway. It feels like there is no life to be found anywhere. It is winter, no if, ands or buts about it.

When spring finally shows up, it does not delicately float in, it erupts. It is almost brazen, the harlot of the seasons. Not a few scattered daffodils, but millions of them, almost garish, in their brazen loud presence. Same with the tulips that follow close behind, unwilling to wait patiently for the daffodils to get off the stage. They crowd in, elbowing their way in, creating an absolute riot of colors. There is color everywhere, and nothing subtle about it. The trees and hedgerows go from bare, dead skeletons, to outrageous green. Birds are everywhere, rabbits hopping about and everywhere you look, and I mean everywhere, lambs are gamboling about. It is like that scene from Bambi, when  Bambi first goes to the meadow and meets Thumper and Flower. It is technicolor. But it is real life, not a cartoon. It finally erupts into a horticultural orgasm of peonies and roses.

Summer slides in, undulating and sensuous, the afterglow of spring. Everything moves slowly, and it is not even hot. In fact you can sit in the sun, and not feel you have to slather yourself in sunscreen and protective gear. You can actually enjoy it. The kids go down and climb around in the river with the puppy, wild strawberries are picked for summer pudding. Summer here does not want to kill you, it wants to embrace you. The world does not dry up and blow away here, it does not burn to the ground. Summer does not want to annihilate you, it just wants you to slow down and relax a bit.

I am just now starting to see Autumn, and relish the knowledge that I will be here for ALL of it next year, and I am going to make lots of apple crumble, and take long walks with my very mature dog.

I am just now realizing that this is a love letter. I am a passionate lover, who is forced to take my leave from a beautiful embrace. I know I have to go, but dammit, I don’t want to!

I will reluctantly climb into that horrible metal can, to be flung across the world. I am not afraid of flying, but I sort of resent it. I don’t think it is natural. If we were meant to fly, we would have wings. It is not part of being human, and it is made even less so by the humans who ship you about.

I have carefully crafted my re-entry. I will not be diving head first into America. I will be very slowly wading in. we are headed to San Francisco, often called the most European of American cities. I grew up there, and I think that is why Europe is so comfortable for me. I love it there. It is home, and a place that gives me great comfort. It will be icy cold, and the leaves will all be in color. The food is amazing, friends and family are there.

Then we will drive slowly down the 101 to Southern California. I will not lie and say we like it there. We don’t, which makes it all the much harder to leave Scotland. But we have created a home there, something of a retreat from the surrounding environs. I will pray it doesn’t blow away, or burn up, cuddle close with children and pets,  be very grateful for how lucky we are, and dream of my lover across the sea.


THX – T.



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