Saturday, November 18, 2017

The simplicity and "magic" of an arch...

The Scottish sea kayaks, Sona and Sìth (pronounced “shee”) are finally back on the water. Today, under grey skies and an air temperature around 5 degrees, there was a window of good paddling weather. The launch spot, just steps from Base Camp 2, is close to the bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh, on the mainland, to Skye. It was opened in October of 1995. Until then, as in the lovely song, it was “over the sea to Skye” - by ferry only.

Whether bridges are built from rough stone as they were by the ancient Romans, or from modern and sophisticated building materials, they require careful and detailed engineering. Making use of the simple “arch”, which has the ability to convey the load forces along the curve of the arch to the supports at either end, they are incredibly strong. It’s almost magic, and the simplicity is pure elegance. Bridges bring people together and facilitate freedom of movement over difficult terrain, or bodies of water.

Paddling along the rocky shoreline, towards the bridge, I reflected on the work of building “bridges” in a world that needs us to increasingly join hands with one another. I couldn’t help thinking that it begins with the willingness to “listen” to one another. ‘Cause there’s a lot of talking out there. 

Listening is an essential “spiritual practice”. Listening demonstrates that we value the other person. Listening to one another, and giving each other time to share our stories, builds strong and trusting relationships. When we listen, we “hear” at a deep level, each other’s tears and heartbreaks, triumphs and joys. Listening becomes the “arch” that conveys the loads we carry…to willing and caring “supports”. And that’s you and me. 

The spiritual practice of listening would bring healing to a world that is is crying out to be “heard”. 

As for the kayaking, Joan and I would both agree that it was definitely a bonnie day on the water. 


  1. You've taught me well over the years Duncan and I've learned how important it is for even chatterboxes like me to listen to others. It brings us understanding and compassion. It would make this world a peaceful planet if we could all just really listen to each other. Thanks Duncan for another wonderful message.

    1. Thank you, Linda, your kind words mean a lot to me. You are so right...listening brings understanding and compassion. That would help to get us to where we need to be. Bless you.