I sat with my back to the warming sun and, after quietly taking in the landscape around me, read some of Tolstoy’s précis of chapter eleven, all of which seemed appropriate to my morning meditations. However these two sentences stood out:
|The derelict croft across the track|
The unity of life and the need to work with reality as a whole (rather than imagining we can live completely out of our own individual will to power) is ever present in a place such as this. As many of the island stories we have heard have eloquently revealed, if you don’t stick together and pay attention to the wind, sun and tide’s ever uncontrollable movements you can easily find yourself actually dead. It is a reminder that the death of which Tolstoy/Jesus speaks is not only spiritual (as is the main focus in this passage) but, at times, physical too.
|Looking across to the Ward of Houlland from the cottage|
“Man must be made conscious of his origin as a child of Nature. Brought into right relationship with the wilderness he would see that he was not a separate entity endowed with a divine right to subdue his fellow creatures and destroy the common heritage, but rather an integral part of a harmonious whole. He would see that his appropriation of earth’s resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and beget ultimate loss and poverty for all” (p. 188).
|Stone walls around Scraefiled Cottage|
|Two chickens come to visit|
So, in homage to Muir and with a nod to my own childhood holidays in the wilderness of Britain, here are a few photos of the cottage, the kirk and the landscape immediately around us. Enjoy! As always, just click on a photo to enlarge it.
|The view looking north|
|The west door of the kirk|
|The west door of the kirk from the inside|
|Looking south from inside the kirk|
|Looking south from the kirkyard|
|Looking north at the south wall of the kirk|
|Looking west across to the Ward of Houlland from the kirkyard|
|Memorial to the Norwegian crew of the S/S Hop from Bergen (1940)|
The lower plaque reads (in English):
In memory of the crew of the S/S "Hop" from Bergen. Torpedoed 4.2.1940 when the ship was en route from Bergen to Middlesborough. The lifeboat was wrecked at Muness, Unst 7.2.1940.
Buried at Baliasta [i.e. in this graveyard] 8
Easting, Unst 3
Not found 2
The Memory Plaque has been funded by the Norwegian Captains' Association and the Norwegian Mates' Association.