Sunday, 1 July 2012
For a few seconds this morning I lay awake, but kept my eyes tightly closed. It gave me a chance to listen, hear without seeing, watch without eavesdropping. I pictured a scene that visits me frequently, the soft wet rain of that which falls by the shore, its gentleness like a comfort blanket that wraps and enshrouds. If rain could smile this is how it would do it. My head still on my pillow I smiled broadly in return, imagining the mist hanging low in the sky, blurring the edges between the world I envisage and I world I seek to escape.
In the scene the smile is silent, the falling rain entering from the sky without drama. Such deep passion doesn’t require a drum roll. That arrives in its partner, a grey sea, cleverly trying to mimic the misty aura of the sky, teasing us. It kisses the shore, gentle one minute, rolling in with pizzazz and splendour the next, the roar lifting from the shingle to the hills above, tossing and turning playfully before disappearing into the distance.
As I lie awake, in that other place between here and now, I keep my eyes shut for another moment and join in, my throat tickling and then exploding in a mimicked roar of laughter. I open my eyes because I know that today, and for the next thirteen days the scene is real.
I am here, I am one, I am at one.
I’m on Rathlin Island, the home of my father and his father and his father before him...the home of my heart.
Life is different here.
My beautiful daughter is with me, her limbs as entwined in Rathlin’s soil as mine, the chambers of her heart rooted in the place we share with a knowing smile. My wonderful son, father to the incredibly strong and resilient Harris, Mamo Margot’s grandson, is arriving on Friday. It will be Harris’s first visit to the island. The excitement is already trickling down my spine, knowing that he will step off the boat, warm and safe in the shelter of his mother’s womb, to embrace his Mamo’s spiritual home for the first time.
He’s still very sick, that’s not going to change. His heart is structurally unsound, and as a consequence will struggle to function when he enters the world in just a few weeks time. But we still hope, and pray, that someone is watching over him, willing strength and durability. Be that God, or be that his family, or the strong arms of Rathlin Island, we will not give up on him.
We are all one.