POSTCARD 136, Peebles, Scotland: We don’t usually wake up to the sound of birdsong at dawn, it’s too early – 4.30 am here in the room with curtains closed to keep out light that glimmers all through the night. Summer in the north means it’s nearly always day. Difficult to sleep, getting out of bed is not easy but I have to be up and ready to leave because this is the end of the retreat and the start of the long journey home.
A labyrinth of corridors and narrow staircase that leads down from the upper floors in this old mansion house converted to a Health Center. Nurses chattering together in their white coats come upstairs, pass me on the staircase going down (ghostly image of maids and housekeeping staff from a former life). I go down and down to the small chapel created in the old wine cellar at the lowest point beneath this great house. Find a place and sit in the silence. I feel humble, a Buddhist in a Christian sanctuary, examining the nature of human experience rather than its external creator – ‘a part of’, rather than ‘apart from’. The ‘hallowed’ Presence may have no name… identification creates an object in a world of subjectivity; a world of whispering Hymn books’ paper pages turning in these curious acoustics: ‘forgive us our trespasses and those who trespass against us.’ So many ‘s’ sounds the rhythm of the Prayer goes out of sync for a moment then its momentum builds up and falls into unity again. Trespasses and trespassing; acting out scenarios in the mind – letting-go and forgiveness.
Say goodbye to nurses, therapists, doctors and friends I’ve known for four weeks and will probably never see again – we shared a small lifetime. Goodbye dark stained wood panels, chandeliers suspended in high ceilings; goodbye antique furniture and carpets over oak block herring-bone flooring. Bags in car and down the long drive into the rolling hills. Sun breaks through and the sky is blue as we descend through the landscape. These are the Lowlands.
“The mind is a kind of theatre where several perceptions successively make their appearance; pass, re-pass, glide away and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations.” [David Hume]
Now there’s a bit of contemporary Christian wisdom for you.
I’m pretty sure cellphones are the work of the devil too.
Yes, a hard thing to do to people. We all felt deprived at first, had to stumble around looking for something else to get engaged with. Difficult to get used to just ‘being’ there and not telling other people what’s going on.
Oh, so very happy you’re back and feeling better!!! Good to “hear” your voice again!! Welcome back!! Missed you. At the moment, a bad migraine so this is short. This retreat had nurses and therapists? My husband has spoken of the mania from the long days in highland summers. Applies to all. Namaste, Ellen. Look forward to hearing of your experiences.
Thanks Ellen, it’s good to be back. I’m in London Heathrow after a very much delayed flight from Edinburgh – thought I’d miss the connection with the Delhi flight but the incoming flight from Delhi is delayed too. So I checked in and seem to be on schedule. Yes, the constant daylight in Scotland is hard to believe. There’s a 2002 movie set in Alaska “Insomnia” starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams. It’s that kind of thing – eyes so widely open it feels like they stay open even when you’re asleep.
Good bye Scotland. So good to hear from you T. It sounds like a worthwhile visit. I will be there in September. The lowlands are calling me.
All kinds of memories of early times, I’m sure it’s the same for you. Here’s a very old song from Youtube you may like:
So beautiful – Thank you T.
So happy to see you back Tiramit! Thanks for the Likes. I was just thinking about you yesterday and missing your presence. And wondering how your health retreat was going. Now here you are. Welcome back.
I hope all is well.
It’s good to be back Suzanne, refreshed after a long interval without access to social media. Thanks for remembering me, there’s no way I can go through all the posts I’ve missed from fellow blogers, I’m just picking from where I am now. Thank you
Welcome back to the world, Tiramit. Hope your retreat offered much healing. 🙂
Thank you Running Elk, healing for body and mind. I feel like a different person…
Can you share the address? 😉
Yes. Just sent the link to your email
Lovely to receive your postcard and to know you are back with us. Much love Mx
Great to be here Melinda, and it’s good to hear from you…
“more posts to come…”
Good to hear. 🙂
Yes, I’m back in the world again, and have a number of notes made over the last month which will become posts in the next few days…