There is a stillness and purity of light, as if time has stood still here. We stood calmly in the suns bright midday rays – chatting and watching as the ferry to take us over the short crossing from Mull, come into view and gently dock at the pier. The gulls call overhead and the calm waters sparkle. We wait with expectant talk, and a woman tells us she has seen dolphins jumping around a boat.
We walk on sandy shores and sit a while to have lunch and watch and listen. Yes there are no overhead planes or cars. The colours are soft blues, turquoise and pale greens that blend perfectly together. We are glad we chose a sunny Sunday for our trip.
First we visit a well preserved Augustan nunnery that offered a calm sanctuary to abused women – estranged wives, illegitimate daughters, abused children.
Then we walk along the shores to the Iona abbey where early kings of Scotland are buried.
On Iona there is the ancient burial ground of early kings of Scotland and Norway. Iona abbey is the best preserved medieval Christian building from the middle ages.
St Colombia arrived from Ireland with 12 companions and brought Christianity here.
We pass a plaque that tells us about the visionary reformer who believed that belief is grounded in action. In the 1930s great depression the Reverend George MacLeod, saw the despair, poverty and hopelessness around him in Glasgow and offered these men some hope and they came to help rebuild the ancient monastery and gave them a sense of self-worth and purpose.
I sit on the grass to bask in the moment, to listen to my soul cry, to watch the sparkling waters, to hear the voices from the past tell their stories. Many Scots kings are buried on Iona, and also Labour leader John Smith.
So much history here – Oaths were sworn on the black stone of Iona and is considered specially binding
When King James VI was working to suppress the powers of the clans, he held a great meeting of clan chiefs, when one agreement was that the Scottish chiefs sent their sons to be educated in England.
Maybe he thought he was uniting the country - which came at a great cost of many lives.
The Iona community remains committed to issues of poverty, peace and social justice.
There are places that lift us up and renew us, if we allow the light to shine on.
Many are pausing a while to reflect on their own shadow.
We feel the centuries hold us a while, all the lost souls, forgotten hearts, searching travellers.
Hallowed ground. Purity of light – offering body and soul if we can only hear it.
Some places offer magic light.
Alexander Pope, ‘An honest man is the noble work of god.’