So you come to this tiny place

July 29, 2012

So you come to this tiny place

Okay, so not to make too much of a small thing, but I am on an island that is about 3 miles long and 1.5 mile wide. It has one road, which is a single track road meaning only one vehicle at a time. If the hotel van is unable to turn around in their drive, then they must go about a quarter mile up the road to turn around. Iona is about 6 hours from Glasgow, (its 5 hours from Shreveport to New Orleans) if you could do it in a six hour stretch, but it is almost impossible to achieve the coordination of a bus/train, ferry, bus, ferry combination. Typically, you come up from Glasgow, stay overnight in Oban, and then do the ferry, bus, ferry trip. You traverse one entire island, Mull, to get to Iona. So in reality, you cannot actually be here by accident.

I tend to think of it as a bit like Mayberry, small town atmosphere in an island setting. Once the last ferry leaves in the afternoon, no one is on the island that is not living or staying here. We don't have locks on our doors and if you misplace something you simply announce it and eventually the item will be returned. There are at least three I pads and I phones in my room, and we simply leave them plugged in and charging while we are at work. One of the youngsters that was here this week misplaced his IPod and when the housekeepers located it they put it in the mail for him. Often I walk from the village to my residence well into the night without any concern.

So it is remote. It is freakishly safe. And it is apparently a beehive of social and cultural events. Almost every evening there is some event planned before or after worship, which is at nine. Many of these are planned by the other volunteers here and may include everyone, or one of the work or resident groups. Other events are planned to take place by outside groups. Earlier this month a music educational group "Mendelssohn on Mull" performed in the Abbey Church. This is a group of highly skilled youth and young adults who have been sponsored through an organization on the Isle of Mull to pursue careers in classical music. It was amazing. I truly wished that I knew more about music, because it was so moving. Last night a couple of my friends and I went to a celebration of Tibetan culture. Monks from a monastery in India are touring England and Scotland and were presenting a dance exhibition. It was amazing, lasting about two hours. I am not sure that I would have that opportunity ever, except on Iona.

Truly, if you are here long enough the world comes to Iona.