So what about silence? As you know, my solitary trips are all about silence; solitude is implicit, and simplicity is part attitude and part circumstance.
One of the primary ways I’m defining silence these days seems to be, “No words, no talking.” That’s the way it was on Skye. I spoke with people when I needed directions or wanted something such as a ferry ticket or smoked salmon—all very practical. A couple of times I had what the Scots would call a “wee chat” with someone, such as while waiting for the Raasay ferry.
But things shifted with the weather, which coincided with my departure from Skye and arrival in Oban. On Sunday, as I began to wonder if I would make it to Iona, I found myself joining in solidarity with other like-minded travelers. In fact, rather to my surprise, the chatty, gregarious me appeared.
There was life energy in our exchanges; our conversations felt honest, with true giving and receiving, a back-and-forth that nourished us all. The bonds continued among those of us “marooned at the hotel, and extended to the staff. But as the seas calmed, as the ferry schedule returned to normal and the hotel filled up, there was less familiar conversation. * By the time I left Iona on Friday, I had pretty much slipped back to my more reserved silence.
* One exception was the couple I had started the venture with on the ferry to Mull.