May 2011 Newsletter
Keith tells us about his holiday on The isle of Skye and how the delights he found enhamced the Christian Message
Only four or five days ago, I was on the island of Skye, visiting Dunvegan Castle (the ancestral home of the Chief MacLeod of MacLeod). The whole of the frontage was unfortunately covered in scaffolding and blue netting. What was irritating was that, as we left, they were taking it down (presumably work was in hand to be completed before the Easter holidays (which for much of the country started a week later than in Norfolk)). If we had planned that visit for the next day or two days later, we would not have had our view of the castle so interrupted. But the other aspect (on the sunny side) was still tremendous
The weather was glorious (if a little cold when out of the sun) and the gardens were lovely, especially the huge clumps of brilliant yellow 'skunk cabbage' (a type of arum lily apparently) in the little islets in the tumbling streams through the garden. So we set off for Coral Beach a few miles further north - the only white beach on the island - apparently not sand, but dried and desiccated marl seaweed. It was a little dull by the time we parked and we had a mile to walk on the exposed moorland along the coast. However when we arrived, a very cold wind blew up and then the squalls started to appear from the west - one after another. I thought my ears were going to be flayed by the vicious hail - more like grit than stones. There was nowhere to take shelter and the four adult6s basically formed a shelter for the three children.
It could have been awfully unpleasant, but, in fact, it was exhilarating. On the face of it a lot had gone wrong with the day - the castle was obscured behind a blue sheet, we nearly froze and had our faces slashed with a million cuts and it was a long drive there and back from where we were staying right down at the southern tip of the island. BUT we enjoyed every minute of it! Perhaps it was because we were on holiday and so we suspended normal attitudes. If so, that is an awful shame. I mean it is an awful shame that our 'normal' approach to life can not be so positive.
It is, I suppose, an example of the half full/ half empty debate, but not just that. It is not just the difference between the optimist and the pessimist (the optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears that is true - JB Cabell). It is not that the optimist SAYS we live in the best of all possible worlds - it is that he DOES - he makes a decision. We have a tendency to make the most of what goes wrong and to forget the good times. But children are not like that. How many of us can remember our childhood on rainy and bad days - we mostly remember the sunny days. Wouldn't it be good, if we could do the same as adults?
As I write we are entering the double 4 day bank holiday weekends, as we come to Easter weekend and then the royal wedding. As you read this, it may seem like a long time ago already. But, at this time, there is no excuse for feeling miserable. The daffodils are going off, the cherry blossom is blowing away, but the hawthorn is out and the fruit trees are beginning to show. The Christian message of Easter is of rebirth, coming into the light out of the darkness, from winter into spring. Getting married is also a time of promise of new things, of new life.
The secret, of course, is not to forget them (have you already?!), but to remember them and carry the memories and the uplifted spirit with you, right through the summer and through the winter until you are re-refreshed again next spring.