Over the past three months I have lost 3 friends. Each relationship was very different and related to a different part of my life. One friendship was over 30 years, one over 50 years, and one of 65 years standing.
This prompts the reflection that each life has a limited span, and this takes me on again to the thought that “Life is a Life Long Lesson” (regardless of how long that particular life is)
I have mentioned before in this space that am fortunate to live in the Highlands of Scotland where we have recently had a spell of good weather… this can occasionally happen in March !
As a result of Covid, vulnerability, and isolation I have rarely been anywhere over the past couple of years so when we recently enjoyed a good spell of weather I decided just to make the most of it.
Now it appears clear that this was a real gift, and given for the purpose of reflection.
Day 1. A trip to Findhorn. I used to live fifteen minutes from Findhorn and much of my Spiritual reflection and indeed emotional healing (post divorce) was done pounding the beaches on the Moray Firth, beaches not only at Findhorn but elsewhere on that coast. This was a short day away and is not far from home but set me up for what was to come.
Day 2. Three days later I set forth early, with thermos and sandwich !
Three weeks earlier I had noted an article in our local paper on an Iron Age Broch which was being maintained (made safe) up on the West Coast. I cut out the article !!
I arrived in Ullapool and there was not a breath of wind. The water was totally still with true reflection of moored boats and the surrounding snow covered hills … so rare and quite magical.
On I went, driving north. Not a cloud in the sky and the magnificent mountains of Assynt standing proud and clear, then on into Sutherland where they are the same. How is it that I have only recently found this mind blowing area? I came to the turnoff indicated in the article and tiptoed along a single track road….somewhere I had never been before… such a rollercoaster, and much care and concentration was needed.
I really thought I was lost but how is this possible on a single track road in the middle of no where? When I came to a row of cottages (one with washing hanging out in the sun) I went and knocked on the door to reassure myself that I was indeed going the right way. Yes, I was good, and there was not much further to go.
I parked in a church car park. Put on some serious walking boots grabbed my walking poles and set off.
It was not far but the walk was challenging… over a five bar gate, along a beach, walking on a difficult stone area, and negotiating the access to the broch which on arrival took me back 3,000 years.
I was alone there. With my thoughts for company I carefully explored the building. Quite, quite, extraordinary. The sun continued to shine, with the sound of the sea so close as I thought about those brave souls who created this place. Their families, their way of life….. utterly mind blowing.
The return walk to the car was also challenging as I thought I spied an easier route, but this resulted in having to negotiate two styles…. with two artificial hips, and an unreliable knee this too was a challenge. However back at the car a well earned cuppa from my thermos was enjoyed.
The drive home was equally fabulous. Stopping in Ullapool for a chippy then a quick dash out of the village before the ferry from the Western Isles came in with the ferry traffic filling the road.
The roads were clear through to Inverness, and then on home.
I love to drive, and spent much of my latter working life driving in remote areas for work. So this day was a joy and the driving no chore. This left my mind free to reflect on the lives of those who lived in the areas I had visited that day. How different were their lives from ours today. Every life has its journey, and challenges and thereafter its lessons.
Regardless of the lives we lead, indeed regardless of which century we live in, we each have our lessons to learn.
Day 3. The following day was again another wonderful weather day. Thermos in hand off I set again, this time I decided to explore another area I had never visited before. There is a small particularly picturesque village on the way to Skye. Skye I know, but not Plockton. I drove the northern route to Inverness, and then on to Plockton via Strathcarron. It lives up to everything that is said of it! Quite beautiful, friendly, and I loved spending a few hours just wandering around and exploring.
Then, I went on to Skye, which I know. I returned briefly to familiar corners loving the fact that this is all pre-season, with the peace and space to take time just to be. Again grabbing a chippy as I left Skye, I drove on to Eileen Donan Castle (built from the 13th to the 16th century). There I sat quietly and enjoyed my supper sitting in the car and watching the sun set behind the castle. Then onwards home the big decision being which route to take.
That decision is for me to know and you to guess !! However it was a good clear run home after another fabulous day.
I have wonderful photos from these few days, but as I couldn’t decide which one to put into this I have decided not to put any in…! They are all snapshots in my mind anyway, as well as on my phone….. If you wish to see them you just need to ask !
The lesson I learned from this magical period is:
LIFE IS SHORT – SO SEIZE THE DAY !
See you all next month – April!
Sarah Jane x