The holidays are a time of journeys for many of us. Fortunately, I only have a two hour journey to reach my dad and step mom’s house. I have been blessed with another chance to spend Christmas Eve with them in their cozy home that has the true spirit of Christmas in it every day of the year. My son is on duty this Christmas, so I will journey to my life-long friend Sharon’s house on Christmas Day and spend the day with her and her family. I love her family and I am grateful to be a part of that family. There will be lots of food and laughter. It’s a day I treasure.
As my thoughts turn to journeys, I think of our WWfaC winter retreat at St. Mary of the Woods in January. I love the coziness that wintry canvas provides, a warm place to reflect and write with no worldly distractions.
The journey that is really on my mind is the journey WWfaC is taking to the Isle of Iona in May 2012. We are holding a writing retreat on that amazing island off the west coast of Scotland, but it is more than just an opportunity to write in a foreign country. For me, it is a journey that eases my soul. Beth Lodge-Rigal has asked those of us who are attending to begin a journal about this trip, so this is my beginning of that process. We will travel by planes, trains, ferries and coaches. I have made this journey many times and each time I experience an internal change as I gaze out the windows of these various conveyances and watch the changing landscape and light. The metamorphosis is beginning.
As soon as I settle on the train for the three hour journey from Glasgow to Oban I can feel my muscles begin to release the internal stresses of every day life. There is happy chatter on the train as it begins it assent into the highlands. When I step off the train in Oban, the sea air clears my head as I breathe in its freshness. And the sounds and sights of this Victorian seaport envelope me and my transformation toward peacefulness is nearly complete. This country is a place where I’m utterly at home and content.
When I board the huge ferry to the Isle of Mull on the next leg of my journey, I climb to the top deck, weather permitting, and let the salty wind blow the last of the cobwebs from my heart and spirit. The gulls' cries as they follow the ferry welcome me and my fellow travelers.
By the time my feet touch the ground in Craignure on the Isle of Mull, my step is lighter and I practically bounce to the waiting coach to take that beautiful journey across Mull and one last ferry ride to that little gem of Iona in the glittering bay. I smile. I’m home. I’m home.
Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse