Saturday, 31 March 2007
For me, Stuart's was a pretty big act of kindness. But in every day there are countless small acts of kindness that folk perform for us and many loving things we can do each other. And, suddenly, the world looks completely different.
They say be careful what you wish for - I'll be careful what I blog about!
Friday, 30 March 2007
The Presence of Trees
by Michael S. Glaser
I have always felt the living presence of trees
the forest that calls to me as deeply as I breathe,
as though the woods were marrow of my bone
as though I myself were tree,
a breathing, reaching arc of the larger canopy
beside a brook bubbling to foam
like the one deep in these woods,
that calls, that whispers home
The forest just along the road from us has just been harvested. Its the first time I have witnessed this and I found it really disturbing. In around 3 days the whole forest was cleared. The explanation given was that the trees had reached the end of their 30 year life span and had to be removed. The trees left standing are ones that have grown up naturally and the forest apparently will be replanted. But, meantime, the landscape seems desecrated - although folk living in the houses behind the forest will, for the first time ever, have a view of the river and the hills beyond.
Folk view things in many different ways and a blessing for some is a bane for others. The reminder that whole landscapes can be dramatically changed for ever in moments is of course a reality that many folk live with and experience every day.
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
I learned today that one of the best ways to process things in our minds is while swimming. Time constraints make that a bit difficult for me right now. Not so much the swimming time but the time taken to dry and straighten hair! But then I learned that it is more the presence of water that's important. So walking by water, as I do every morning, is just as effective. (So, too is a long shower or soak in the bath). I certainly use my morning wander to sift things in my head. And, around this part of the world, there is no shortage of water or of beautiful water side places to walk. I should be good, then at processing stuff. Perhaps I just need more practice. And all the beautiful distractions found around the water's edge are, I'm sure, all useful processing tools. Reflecting on the sheer wonder and majesty of creation lends an edge and a useful perspective to all of life.
Monday, 26 March 2007
Sunday, 25 March 2007
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Friday, 23 March 2007
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Monday, 19 March 2007
Do you have a place in mind for those times you just need to escape? Mine is the beautiful Island of Tiree. A remote, idyllic island off the west coast of Scotland - one of the inner Hebrides. It takes the best part of the day to get there, involving a 5 hour ferry crossing but that in itself is an adventure. In the winter the boat only comes in every other day - just one of the many attractions of this wild and wonderful place. The houses you can just see in the background make up one of the bigger townships on the island - another attraction - it's sparse population. There are miles of white sandy beaches to walk in glorious solitude. Perhaps you're getting the message that I'm a bit pressed down by life at the moment. Escape, even in the form of daydreams is a luxurious coping mechanism I love to employ. But then I remind myself that even the ability to envisage such a healing place makes me extremely fortunate and I begin to get things back in perspective and appreciate what a blessed life I live. Thanks be to God.
Sunday, 18 March 2007
Saturday, 17 March 2007
Friday, 16 March 2007
Its a particularly dreich day today, with snow forecast for the weekend, brrrr. I decided to lighten the day by looking at some holiday pictures. This one, of Fingal's Cave on the Island of Staffa was taken last Easter on a trip with some young folks from the church. The formation of this island and its famous cave is awe inspiring. To think that all that geometrical perfection is entirely natural and not man made makes me stop in my tracks. What kind of creator can achieve such marvellous perfection? A perfection that withstands the ravages of time and the elements. It was a very peaceful yet disturbing place to be. The sheer peace is what in itself disturbs. Its like a world apart, divorced from the everyday hurly burly yet bearing evidence of a time before time and of a presence before existence. The experience of being there and now, of looking back on this image, fills me with conflicting senses. A contrary encounter with nature - God's awesome creation. Can anyone glimpse such majesty and remain unmoved?
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
In our local primary school, kids, who in a few months will move on to secondary school, take a trip to Nethy Bridge, an outdoor activity centre. I get to join them for at least part of the time. In the parish, it tends to be a really busy time of year and I usually struggle deciding whether or not to go. But I always have the best time with them in that place of adventure. And when I return, the work hasn't disappeared but it seems lighter because I have taken off and had a blast. Last year, I tried skiing for the first time ever. And now, on heavy days, I like to reflect on that experience of careering down hill, totally out of control, in sheer abandon. And I remind myself that delinquency is good for the soul.
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
Monday, 12 March 2007
Sunday, 11 March 2007
Its a gift. We don't feed them or care for them, yet they persist in bringing us joy.Aren't there lots of things in our lives like that. They come unbidden but bring change, sometimes for the better. It would be good to be more switched on to those agents that bring welcome changes, occasional notes of joy and less ground down by the negative forces that are always around. I am convinced those good things are there. We just need to look that bit harder to see them.
Saturday, 10 March 2007
I loved our brief visit to Chicago when I took some study leave last autumn. But just this week I discovered that an old friend was working real close to where we were. A missed opportunity to catch up. But, hey, an excuse to go back to that beautiful city. There's no point in bemoaning lost chances, is there? Its better and much more fun to create possibilities even if they have to remain dreams for the foreseeable future. Dreams can be wonderful motivators if we allow them to escape from the airy fairiness of our imagining, share them and enlist help in making them real. And then we simply have to dream more dreams that we can bring to fruition. Its important to always have some dreams tucked away for the days when the landscape seems grey. Then we can add colour wherever we are.