I am still in awe of the many people I saw on my travel to iona who were making the trip in spite of their physical difficulties. Canes, walkers, wheelchairs, as well as many putting one step in front of the other without added help. Buses and ferries are accessible to all, but it still takes physical, emotional and mental courage to complete the journey. Some had the help of a friend, family member, or staff person, but it was their own mettle that kept them moving and upbeat.
I’m considering returning to weaving. This morning, after baking brownies and making ‘meatballs made by her’, I rinsed and hung to dry the tartan piece that I wove in the fall. I’m rather proud of it…well, minus the endings of one color and beginnings of another.
‘Weaving as a meditative process’ is what I long for, which means keeping the patterns simple, which will help solve the strangling ends problem. With my prayer shawls, I have ‘knitting as a meditative process’, so why not weaving?
I’ve taken a little respite from posting. The morning after the evening I arrived home from Scotland, I drove to Connecticut to attend the funeral of a distant, but close member on my dad’s side of the family. Three hours down and three hours back. Sometimes it was bumper to bumper on the Merritt, other times 70MPH was an option. I stayed awake and sooo glad I made the effort, but the next two days I took it easy, sitting in the silence and knitting.
Now, here it is Monday and I’m back in balance—that is until the end of the week when we go to Vermont for a few days and then come home to July 4th celebrations. My hum-drum and yet lively life, always looking for silence, solitude and simplicity—but not too much of it. Very grateful.
This has been a different kind of trip. All good but different. I took fewer photos and wasn’t concerned by the lack easy internet access on the island. In fact, it was refreshing to let go of posting all the time. (If you want to see pictures of Iona you just need to go back to June 2013-15.) What else was different? Although I did a great deal of walking, I didn’t feel drawn to return to the usual hiking destinations on the island.
What surprises me most as I sit her at the Glasgow airport is that I had less desire to write. Why, I wonder? Because I didn’t have anything to say. I was happy to BE, whether walking, knitting, sitting or eating. For the week I lived among the thin space of Iona.
That sense of being is still with me at the airport. Amidst the noise and complexity I am in solitude. My mind isn’t taking in all the activity. Hmm, wonder if I can carry this home with me.
It took an eternity to post these pictures from the quiet garden at the Hotel Columba. Enjoy the silence, solitude and simplicity.
Poor internet access has forced me into a new level of silence, solitude and simplicity. Since it is almost impossible to post a slide show from my hotel, I’ve let go of thinking about trying. But the daily quote is a different matter. After all, I’ve been posting a quote and picture daily since November 2009.
Living in the moment is it. The rain yesterday gave me permission to read a mystery; the day before, tea at my weaver friend’s cottage. Today a hike.
Here I sit on my very favorite bench watching the ferry travel back and forth from Iona to Fionnphort. A marvelous spot to knit, write and better still, to BE. My companions, the sheep, know how to do just that. As I sit here, they are teaching me about silence, solitude and simplicity. Some barely move for minutes on end; one scratches his back on a rock; others graze about. Oops, one just coughed, but has now gone back to sleep.
I’m quite sure that my sheep don’t think about silence, solitude and simplicity; they embody it. Of course they don’t have a thinking kind of human brain, nor do they have that unique human ability to laugh, both of which get in my way of BEING in the NOW.
These sheep seem content to stay still until some need of nature arises in their bodies. They may not be able to teach me to be still, but their way is worth pondering. Their stillness is meditative. They remind me of the mystics who sit quietly in the presence of God. They are in the ‘thin space’.
(Internet is especially slow on the island this evening, so no slideshow is available.
If you’re planning a trip to Iona Abbey, here is your itinerary, unless that is, you sign on for a cruse.To arrive here on the island from my home outside of Boston, I took 3 buses, 1 car, 2 ferries, and 2 planes. I should include the miles of walking but that might discourage you. Trust me, the trip is worth it. If you get disheartened along the way, just remember, you are on a pilgrimage.
Car to Logan Express Bus (15 minutes)
Bus to Logan Airport(40 minutes
Plane to Dublin (6 hours)
Plane to Glasgow (1 hour)
Bus to Oban (3 hours); spend the night.
Ferry to Craignure on Mull (1 hour)
Bus across Mull to Fionnphort (1.5 hours)
Ferry to Iona (10 minutes)
Walk to the Abbey (10 minutes)
So far my travels have been filled with silence, solitude and simplicity, and even some private laughter; easy travel and a the best-ever fish and chips at my favorite restaurant in Oban. Even with a mix up with my B & B reservation the calm has continued, accompanied by some quiet laughter on the way.
When I rang the bell at the bright blue house in Oban where I ALWAYS stay, I was told there was no room at the inn --I had failed to confirmed the booking! Fortunately the owner found me a room at a reasonable price just down the street, warning me, however, that I had to enter through the bar. That’s where my private laughter began. Men and women, beer in hand stared at me as I walked in. The place looked like a movie set and I felt like I was participating in one of those old western movies in which the action freezes as the villain enters. I could almost here the director say freeze.
While the crowd watched, I signed in and paid and then was taken to the B & B section of the hotel. Funky is a kind word to describe the place, but clean, quiet, and best of all a separated entrance for overnight guests.
I am very grateful that my intention for silence, solitude and simplicity guided me through what I could have considered a HUGE annoyance, inconvenience, or blight on the trip. Instead it gave me reason to see the humor in life, to laugh at my mistakes, and not to take myself so seriously.
Silence, solitude and simplicity on my first late afternoon walk of on Iona. Right now I’m attempting to post a slide show but like everything on this island, the pace is slow. Oh, now it’s speeding up. Let go, be in the present, whatever that will offer. All good. Very grateful.
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4/30/15 Finishing up VG.