With every pace one’s mood darkens. Those endless ankle-twisting contradictions underfoot, amorphous, resistant, cutting, dull, become the uncountable futilities heaped upon one’s own shores by the surrounding ocean of indifference. If then one could elevate gloom into metaphysical despair, see the human race as no taller than that most depressing of life-forms, the lichen that stains so many of these bare stones black, one might, paradoxically, march on with a weightier stride that would soon outwalk the linear desert. Instead, the interminable dump of broken bits and pieces one is toiling along stubbornly remains the merely personal accumulation of petty worries, selfish anxieties, broken promises, discarded aspirations and other chips off a life-worn ego, that constitutes the path to one’s own particular version of nowhere. And then is it not a conceit, that further convicts one of conceit, to read one’s own misfortune into even these random sheddings of processes so many magnitudes vaster than the human span of space and time? But at such moments it seems the only alternative is to let these supernal processes grind all one’s concerns down into utter insignificance. Whereupon, rebelliously struggling through this clogged precipitate of scourings worn off its housing by the gyrating sea, this lumpish outwash of the wasting-away of the Earth, this dandruff of a seedy cosmos, one begins to feel that even if the whole did have a meaning narrow enough to be discovered by or revealed to such infinitessimals as Man, it would be one which we, honouring ourselves as dust, should decline to read and make out own.

Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage