Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Morning at Iona

I woke up at 6:15 am! Now I'm in a room with 7 women, and I have the only top bunk. So, I'm awake, and I can see that there is sun starting to shine out the window. It is a bit trickey getting out of that particular spot quietly... but eventually I managed to get up, grab a shower and head outside, with cup of instant coffee in hand (only kind they have here - so - what the hey.) Gorgeous sun rise over the island of Mull, which we face to the east - and the sun is right over it.
Walking away from the abbey and town, down to the tip of the island, I pass other walkers - a few - and lots of sheep. Many lambs are about, all 'baggy skinned' looking, the younger they are. Daffodils are everywhere, and the stone walls and scattered cottages picturesque.
Through a pasture gate and down to the tip of the island. I can see Staffa - way out - and next to it a flatter island - I forget the name, but will visit out there tomorrow, so will get to see it up close. We're told the puffins are back, so will get to enjoy those birds!
The beach is amazing. Lots of white sand, polished stones, dynamic surf. Tides here are challenging, and there really isn't any spot they recommend swimming. No one mentions the water is it is April....but the gulf stream does go right by so hypothermia probably sets in more slowly.
Spectacular day. Crystal clear sky, air that sparkles.
After 95 minutes out, I'm back at 'the Mac' for breakfast - toast, fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal with sprinkles....a nice way to set us up for the rest of the morning.
I volunteered to take up the offering and serve communion at the Abbey Service. Standing behind the altar (not the celebrant - just serving) was fun. Amazing to think about all the others who have stood in that spot - since this church was first built in 1200 - then the other churches back to the 500's when Columba started the first community here. The sound in the space is wonderful. We had a clarinet, grand piano and oboe - along with many voices singing.
It was pretty cold! Our preacher wore a ski - jacket and she had a scarf around her neck. Hard to imagine being a monk sitting in that coldness that just soaks into your bones. The choir stalls do have a wood floor, which would help keep the cold from radiating off the floor.
Following commuion, one of the traditions is to hand out oatcakes at the doors of the church. You are invited to give an oatcake to someone you do not know, as a sign of communion in the ordinary things of life. Lovely tradition.
Now, I'm on my way back for lunch. This afternoon I get to work in the gardens!!
Grace and peace to all!

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