“I grew up listening to the folks songs of my ancestors along the Scottish Borders.”
I grew up listening to the folk songs of my ancestors along the Scottish Borders. When I left London for America, I discovered the songs again, preserved intact in the Appalachian South. Even as a child, I was drawn to the pathos and melancholy of these old ballads. They are weighted with what the historian David Hackett Fisher described as “nescient fatalism.” Such a fatalism—a kind of stoic acceptance existing without specific foreknowledge—is common among societies with a history of violence. So also is the culture of honor that I found similarly transported to parts of America from its traumatic birthplace in the now-gentle Scottish Borders.