Skye Views

Greetings from the Isle of Skye!  

We have just completed our first week on this enchanted Isle.  It has been an incredibly relaxing week…resting, reading, hiking…oh, and eating here and there along the way.  We have been mostly exploring the northern and central regions of the Isle.  (A few pics below)

At Jennifer’s insistence :) we did manage to swing by the Talisker Distillery a few days ago for a tour and a tasting.  

We feel ourselves settling into the landscape which feels so inviting and hospitable.  It is a new place for both of us but it feels oddly familiar and conveys a sense of belonging.  

Today is the first day we decided to stay in…the clouds are low, rain comes and goes, and a mighty wind is sweeping across the landscape.  It displays a rugged and vigorous beauty.

We have been using a Celtic Prayer book for our daily prayers.  One of the prayers we read a fews days ago expressed the overwhelming sense of God we have both felt during our days on Skye:

In the making of creatures, O God,
you called the senses into being
and named them as good.
In our tasting and touching,
in our smelling, hearing and seeing
may we be alive to the mystery of life
and alert to finding you in all things. 

Touching the Rock....

After departing Glencoe last Sunday afternoon, April 30, we took a series of planes, ferries and automobiles to our first destination, the Isle of Iona, Scotland, arriving on Thursday, May 4. The weather was (and remains) spectacular!  Sunshine every day.  

Being on the island of Iona for two nights felt like our sabbatical had truly begun.  Iona has long been identified as a "thin place."  As George McLeod, founder of the Iona Community, put it: "...a thin place where only tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual."  In many ways, it was Jen's desire to visit Iona that set the stage for our entire sabbatical.  Years ago I gave her an autobiography by John Hull, "Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness."  It is his incredibly moving and inspiring story about going blind in adulthood and how he learned to see and know the world without sight.  The narrative culminates in an account of his pilgrimage to Iona where, late one night, he makes his way to the Abbey Church and feels his way to the stone altar...there he touches the rock.  No better place for us to begin our sabbatical pilgrimage.

On Saturday, we drove and ferried from Iona to our next destination--the Isle of Skye.  We arrived here on Saturday afternoon to settle into our rental home where we will be for the next three weeks.  Since arriving we have been unpacking and settling in and exploring the area a bit.  Skye is an incredible place.  We took our first hike yesterday afternoon...about the time you all would have been gathering for worship.  We remembered you amidst the beauty and majesty of this landscape.

I have included several pictures below to give you a sense of our experience thus far.  I plan to post here once a week...but don't hold me to that!  I will send a congregation-wide email every time I post a new journal entry.  

In great gratitude,


Beginning Soon....

On Sunday afternoon, April 30, Jennifer and I begin our Sabbatical Sojourn.  We load up the car and head for West Hartford, CT., where Jennifer's parents live.  We arrive there on Monday, May 1 and on Tuesday, May 2, we fly out of JFK for London's Heathrow airport.  There, we rent a car and begin our drive north to Scotland.

Our first stop will be the Island of Iona for two nights and then on to the Isle of Skye where we will stay for three weeks.  Then down to a house in the Highlands near the city of Oban.  All our kids will visit during our two week stay in a house there.  We then make our way further south to the Cottswolds in northern England for two weeks before boarding a plane back to the US.  We make a brief trip to Montana to visit friends and then situate ourselves on the coast of Maine from early July to the middle of August.  

We are due to drive back into Glencoe on August 15.

My plan is to post a brief journal entry each week to mark our progress.  Those entries will comprise my Sabbatical Journal.  My first post should appear in a week or so.  Please join us!