Last summer I went to Iona, tramping around for the day trying to see it through Aldred’s eyes. And even though it was great to see the stone crosses, experience worship in the church, and survey the sweeping landscape, a day was not enough to really feel the place. I want to go back for a week.
Instead I came to a week long writing workshop retreat on Whidbey Island in Washington.
Crossing on the ferry reminded me of the ferry to Mull and then Iona. Only then did I think that perhaps this week might become a second Iona. The landscape is not all that different, although the latitude is less northerly. The weather was cold–and making the experience more authentic, a wind storm knocked the power out for more than three days.
While I did get a lot of good writing time and excellent feedback on Aldred’s novel, I also wrote some brief poems reflecting on the landscape, offered here in lieu of a post on Iona.
When you look up
Your head thrown all the way back
Your mouth opens
And I Begin to Sway
If you stand still long enough
You see the trees move
Path Blocked to the Sanctuary
Sometimes they break
the wind snapping, wrenching
whole branches, trunks even
Dare I touch the wounded wood?
On the path of the labyrinth,
I could pick up the branches
and throw them out of the circle.
I can hear water,
beneath the sound of the generator.
Maybe a stream,
but I cannot see it down among the bushy woods
Or maybe it is just
the mist of rain prickling on my hood.