Iona: (Dis) Comforts

iona is a small island, 1 mile by 3 miles, in the Inner Hebrides off the northwest coast of Scotland. There is nothing between Iona and the North Atlantic. There is nothing between Iona and the Norh Pole, either.

Tuesday the wind blew, all day long and all night long, in excess of 32 mph. There were whitecaps on the sound from one side to the other. The ferry, a converted Landing Craft (Tank), wallowed from side to side in the swell, with its flat bottom. I felt for the craft master in his Sisyphean task.

We attend a service of Silent Prayer before breakfast each day, in a chapel at the Abbey. This, too, is U heated. We can see the fog of our breath, if our eyes are open. Even with the door closed, the wind howls over the roof.

The sheep, and their many lambs, know how to find shelter from this onslaught. They find safe places, in the uneven terrain of the pastures, and in the lee of stony ruins.

The daffodils, those sturdy souls, bend a little but their sunny faces remain upright, despite the flattening gusts, constant in their optimism.

Your heaviest fleece is not too heavy. Too many layers are not too many. Rain pants are not superfluous. Neither hat, not gloves, nor scarf is extraneous.


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