In an over domesticated, furiously ‘civilised’ world, our wildish self must have rhythms of tranquillity and solitude. Periodically, we must journey to remote, rough places in order to restore instinct.

Each year, I travel to Iona, a tiny island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland for a creative writing retreat. Iona is ancient. Many early Kings of Scotland are buried there in a large grassy mound next to the tiny church of St Oran. It is a place of stunning natural beauty.

I adore the raging wind and sideways driving rain, sweeping and rinsing my tired mind and heart and ran my hands over rough, coarse volcanic rocks as if to soak up strength and marvelled at their timelessness. Some of the rock on Iona is 2,900 million years old. If you lack perspective and things are weighing you down, reflect on that.

Close to Iona is Staffa, a large uninhabited 50 million year old rock comprised entirely of a hexagonal structure similar to the columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. As the little ferry boat powers along through the choppy waves, within an hour, Staffa’s head pops up like a huge souffle in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Famous for Fingal’s Cave, I sit deep in its mouth and rejoice in the orchestral sounds of the sea eternally gushing in and out. And I am in utter awe of the power of Nature.

In a transitory, disposable world of instant gratification, it is deeply nourishing to rest in wild untouched places. In the dark womb of the ancient Celtic rocks of Iona, I find my feet to be solid and my place affirmed in the natural order of things.

Questions for Contemplation:

Where are your places of true rest?
Where do you find solidity and strength?
How do you use Nature to reconnect with your wildish self?

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