Uncharted Waters

Right now, it feels that all of a sudden we have been catapulted into a strange new world – a threatening world. It is a world of rapid change, sometimes not just by the day, but sometimes by the hour. Change for many can be a cause for anxiety and at present it feels that we are living a rapidly changing environment.

A walk enhanced by the familiar landmark of Ben More on the Isle of Mull

We are living in an unfamiliar social landscape, where the normal landmarks are fast disappearing – cinemas and theatres, bars and public houses, restaurants and cafes – sporting events and fitness clubs and places of worship.

The familiar – Tiree pier and linkspan from the island of Soa

Ahead there are uncharted waters and the forecast is for unprecedented storms and troubled seas.

The Monument in Pier Road, Scarinish

The media and the politicians have moved on from Brexit. It is almost like a distant memory. Likewise, apparently forgotten are the winter storms and devastating floods but not by those who suffered from them.

Ben More with the cast of the setting sun

Here on the Isle of Tiree the ground is still saturated after the persistent winter storms and relentless rain. So, it has been most encouraging to have the wind drop and the sun dispel the clouds even if it is just for two days.

The Golf Ball (Radar Station) on Ben Hough – a familiar landmark

It was a real pleasure on Friday to be able to go for a walk along Gott Bay with its expansive beach and on to the tidal island of Soa from where we looked across the waters of the bay and identified familiar landmarks including Ben Hynish, Kenavara , Ben Hough and the pier.

Familiar landmarks at sunset – Ruaig and the Rum Cuillin

The pier easily identified with its distinctive new yellow fender on the end of the linkspan. Later, in the early evening I walked down to the pier to watch the sun set.

The setting sun from the pier

Our west facing window acts as an early warning of the approaching sunset and serves as a guide as to how it might appear. Alerted to the sunset a walk was definitely in order, and it brought with it a sense of normality. Making my way towards Pier Road the setting sun was being reflected off the west facing windows of the houses. The first distinctive point of reference was the memorial in Pier Road on which the sun was casting its golden glow. From there you look out on the majestic peak of Ben More on the Isle of Mull. It too was being caressed by the glow of the setting sun.

The sun setting behind Ben Gott

Across the waters of Gott Bay is Ruaig and the backdrop of the Rum Cuillin. There too the setting sun was working its magic. As the sun slowly dropped below the horizon the sky was transformed. The blue that had remained all day gave way to gold.

A lone gull finds a perch

A real favourite song with all ages at Tiree Baptist Church is
‘My Lighthouse’ by Rend Collective.
In unfamiliar waters a lighthouse is a vital reference point.
The lyrics of the song include these words:

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness
I will follow You
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore .
Safe to shore

Slowly the sun drops behind Ben Gott

Jesus said to his disciples, his friends,
“Don’t worry about these things, saying,
‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’
These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,
but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously,
and he will give you everything you need.

So don’t worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will bring its own worries.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.
(The Bible, Matthew 6)

The Golden Glow from Pier Road

As a teenager I remember reading a book about a family who were placed under house arrest at the start of the Cultural Revolution in China. In the book ‘Green Leaf in Drought’ the author relates how the family’s daughter, no more than a toddler kept singing the words of a hymn. They had no recollection of teaching her the song. How appropriate the words were in their situation of great uncertainty.
In heavenly love abiding
No change my heart shall fear
And safe is such confiding
For nothing changes here
The storm may roar without me
My heart may low be laid
But God is round about me
And can I be dismayed

The MV Lord of the Isles in the Passage of Tiree

Today, Saturday, it feels more like the new norm. The sun has failed to break through the clouds and the wind has risen. With the SSE wind gusting to 39mph the ferry, the ‘MV Lord of the Isles’ had problems berthing. Due to the adverse weather this afternoon’s crossing has been cancelled.

The ferry had to hold off moving back to the linkspan

This is Life on Tiree