Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rainbows and healing places...outside.

Rainbow over the Salish Sea on an autumn day.
There was a most extraordinary rainbow over the Salish Sea the other day. We had just finished getting some groceries at Folklife Village, the little shopping centre on Gabriola Island, when I spotted its arch high above the trees. Driving back to the cabin (and my camera), just five minutes away, I hoped it would still be there...it was. In my imagination, it appeared to burst joyfully out of the sea into the sky, only to return again to the sea, somewhere on the other side of the island. We often see rainbows over the water here but this one was so close...so vivid, so brilliant against the overcast.

The world "outdoors" - whether it is on the forest trails, or by the water, or on urban pathways, offers such refreshment and inspiration. The sound and feel of the raindrops, the smell of the autumn woods, the taste of wild berries, the sight of nature's displays in the clear night skies.

I cannot imagine the appeal of a life spent indoors. When in need of comfort or inspiration or connection - I go outside. It is there that exists the greatest clarity of thought. Movement is usually part of that experience, but not always. Sometimes it is enough to sit by the sea or under a canopy of trees, and just breath...deeply...and slowly. 

At this moment, Joan is at the bedside of her very special mother, who is nearing the end of her life. I will soon join her. When I lost my mother, on the summer solstice of this same year, we were 7000 kilometres away from home. When a friend called us with the news, she knew how best we would deal with the sadness. She counselled us, gently, to go for a run on the nearby trails around the loch. She knew that it would be the "outdoors" that would bring us greatest healing in the immediate moments. We did. And then, several hours later, we hiked up into the nearby Angus Glens and found solace in the remoteness of the high country and the mountains and in the blowing Scottish wind and driving rain. My family in Scotland, and the folks at St Margaret's, in Forfar, were immensely kind, and their compassion heartfelt. 

So now, we come yet again to another occasion, in the days ahead, when the outdoors will faithfully bring comfort, inspiration, and connection at a time of human passage. And in the midst of it all, the rainbow, an ancient symbol of hope, reminds us of the words of St. Julian of Norwich..."all shall be well". Yes, all shall be well as we traverse together this deeply meaningful journey called "life". Peace be with you, Grandma, always.


1 comment:

  1. Andy, L, Lee, Giovanni, Sheila, BF John J, Gen, and all the Anons - warm thanks for your thoughtful well wishes. I've saved them and passed them along to Joan.

    We'll be away for a bit but see you again soon. Take good care, all. Duncan.