the cairn

by Elouise


one atop another
grief teeters
tiny fists
clench defiantly
storm heaven

fallen comrades
gather round
cold drizzle
and fierce gusts

* * *

Cairn O’ Mount in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It’s the last day of our Scotland trip; we’re driving from Lumphanan to the Edinburgh airport. The weather is cold and windy; a light rain is falling. The cairn* sits atop the mountain pass beside a small turnout.

If you enlarge the photo you’ll see small stones perched precariously at the top. You’ll also see a drooping bouquet of flowers on the left side of the mound. Near it (not visible in the photo) are several small plaques–one professionally engraved on granite, one painted on stone, one painted on wood. All with names of the dearly departed and messages from friends and family. On the backside of the cairn a Scottish flag lies draped across the stones.

This ancient memorial changes often as new stones are added to the heap or perched on top, close to the sky, looking out over Scotland.

*cairn: a mound of stones erected as a memorial or marker. (

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 October 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, September 2015
Cairn O’ Mount, Scotland