I am doing some work to plan elements of an up and coming wilderness retreat next weekend. I am really looking forward to spending some time with David, meeting his mates from Aberdeen, and also returning (weather permitting!) to Eileach an Naoimh.
I have written before about this place- a wild place of high cliffs on one side and folding grass lands to the other. It is the site of a 5th C monastery thought to have been founded by St Brendan, and one of the places thought to be the island that St Columba knew as Hinba.
The monastery is still visible, scratched out in the thin soil. Some of the ancient bee-hive cells are almost intact. There is a medieval chapel, that stands roofless and I hope we can use it with the stars as a ceiling.
I am reminded too that the last time I was there I wrote a poem or two based on the experience. This one was my favourite;
Lord stain me with salt
Brine me with the badge of the deep sea sailor
I have spent too long
On concrete ground.
If hope raises up these tattered sails
Will you send for me
A fair and steady wind?
Oh I would love to be there….with a shovel…. and some friends…
You bring the shovel, but friend that I am, you can use it on your own!
All that my soul requires… may your retreat be blessed…