Leaving Iona. Leaving the Island Life.
One on my good friends Chris joined me here on Iona on Thursday for the start of his Sabbatical. The weather has been nothing short of fantastic. We're happily sunburned from long walks wandering the island and from our many breaks sitting outside sipping our beverages of choice.
Tonight is our last night on Iona. It's strange to experience how very much can happen in one week. Tonight we'll wander down for one last service at the Abbey. One last tea and cookies afterwards. One last night hanging with our new friends. One last lingering twilight. It's funny how close you can feel to people you've only known for such a short time. Island life does that to you I suppose.
After the service it's time for the weekly ceilidh, held in the village hall. I'm not sure what ceilidh means exactly, but it must be Gaelic for old people square dancing. Or at least that's my outsiders view. Last week I took to it quite well and met some delightful 65 year old ladies in the process. I can only imagine what this week will hold.
Flung out here on what feels like the edge of the continent the days are long and slow with not much to do but walk and chat and read and nap, only do it all over again. The Celtic Christians of long ago are justly famous for their recognition of God's care in creating the world. Iona's treeless windswept hills, surrounded by white sand and blue water make it easy to see why. The beauty here calls me Christ-ward, but it also calls me human-ward, towards some long forgotten memory of living buried beneath my usual urban frenzy.
Things like: Watching the sunset every night with friends. Walking everywhere. Deserted beaches. Dogs. Campfires. The one pub in town where everyone ends up most nights. That is until it closes at 11:00. Mountain views. Endless waves. Old churches filled with new prayers. Unhurried chats with strangers. People of all ages and from many places mixing together; eating, dancing, worshiping, and trying to figure life out.
I am going to miss this place.
(I promise to post pictures soon, one's that surely won't do this place justice, but I will try.)