DESERT JOURNEYS 26
Wednesday 21st March 2018
A few years ago, I was fortunate to spend some time on an uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. This has been organised as a wilderness retreat, so while not a desert, is was a wild, remote place. It reminded me how much we rely on others to exist, but also what’s really important, like food, shelter and warmth. More than anything, it was a time to enjoy silence and prayer, as well as laughter and being with others.
This was written very recently, inspired by that experience.
This wild place had been there, only days for me,
While the rich moss and trees,
Twisted from generations of striving against wind,
told a different story.
There, a heap of stones just formed,
Colours shift as mist slowly
thickens to highland drizzle.
Smooth river bed, or sea tossed stone.
Most likely never held by human hand,
Not for centuries on this lonely island,
Where every croft is silent, roofless, abandoned.
Enriched in rain, it glistened;
Microscopic stars of quartzite shone,
Narrow bands of shimmering purple, black and white,
Where once it had seemed so plain and grey.
After a while, trying to look away from beauty,
The stone drew me back.
Hearing only the gentle, white noise of soft rain,
Interspersed with small waves, on the shore below.
Watching a wild stone.
The silence grew, deepened, mind emptying,
Ready now, to hear God.
Ready and waiting.
In this wild, rich, beautiful, desert for the soul.