There’s a webcam at Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland. My daughters and I had been checking in on the castle for quite some time during our trip preparation, watching the tide move in and out, keeping tabs on the weather and the wind. Anticipating contact with our families back home, we set a date and time for our own webcam appearance. At the appointed hour, we waved and smiled and laughed, letting our families know we were having a wonderful time. In return, we received texts with confirmation that they could see us, a happy moment for the little ones and their mamas.
When we got home eight days later, I found that my husband had, indeed, used my office computer to watch us at the castle. I’d set it up so that all he had to do was click on the link and the webcam feed would appear. I guess I forgot to tell him to exit out of the site because when I woke the mouse, there on the screen was a frozen image of the three of us gazing up at the castle. I got the strangest feeling as I called my daughters in to look at us. Time had frozen in that moment and although here we stood in my office, there we were in Scotland, happily anticipating another week of joy.
I couldn’t bring myself to close the page. As long as the image remained on the screen, some remnant of me still roamed the hills, the battlefields, the castles far away. I still felt connected by some magical link to a land that felt strangely more like home than any other place I’ve ever been. I used to think that Santa Fe was the place where my bare feet tingled happily with the most home-like vibration. In Scotland, however, even through heavy hiking boots, I could feel the magnetic pull that begged me to stay.
Thunderstorms swept through last night, littering the yard with palm fronds and pine needles, taking down limbs and knocking out power. The image is gone. I knew it before I opened my eyes in the dark, feeling the silence of the house around me. It’s strange how even from the depths of deepest sleep the body senses change. I sleep in pitch black with the white noise of a whirring fan drowning out the creaking noises of the house settling around me. Something had subtly shifted, something tangible but untrackable in the haze of sleep and dark silence. I felt it. I am fully home.
If this happens again, or anyone has a cause to capture what’s on their screen, press Shift, Print Screen (one of those three keys on the upper right of the keyboard you never use) then open Paint (Or Photoshop, if that’s your bag.). Using ctrl+V or selecting paste will put your screen image in a savable format. As for the magnetic tug on the ankles, happened to me at the Alhambra in Spain.
Thanks for your comment, Charles. I managed to save the image (using the same method you described) and added it to my photos from Scotland as soon as I found it. There was something quite alarming about looking at it onscreen, though, especially because the site displays a video in the header that makes the page feel like real-time. http://www.eileandonancastle.com/eilean-donan-webcam.htm. My next dream trip is one with my son. We want to walk The Way in Spain. 🙂