Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Music in the air (Part 2)

An early wake-up call nudges us out the door, down the street, and over to the dock. We take the early ferry to the Isle of Mull, a bus through the moors of the island, all the way to the end where a fishing boat is waiting for us. We chug our way past a small group of sunbathing seals and wave to a few puffins out for a morning jaunt.

The destination: the island of Staffa, officially "uninhabited" but certainly full of life.

Mendelssohn's inspiration, Dumbledore's doom

As we approach Staffa, we come right up to Fingal's Cave, an enormous basalt opening. This is an awesome sight. Meg says, "I have never before been to the actual site of a Harry Potter movie." She points to a small upcropping of basalt pillars and exclaims, "That is where Harry and Dumbledore landed!"

I mention that Queen Victoria visited here, and Felix Mendelssohn was inspired to compose his Hebridean Overture here. But for my daughters, the main inspiration is the wizarding world of Harry Potter. This is indeed a magical place. The Gaelic name for the spot is "the melodious cave."

We climb our way to the highest spot on the island, where Katie and Meg pose in tall grass and heather. It reminds me of the exuberant cover of our church choir's CD, which was photographed on the hill of an Hebridean island like this.

A couple of Celtic beauties on Staffa
For me, however, the next stop is my favorite. When I see the ancient abbey of Iona, I have a lump in my throat. This is holy ground, for me and for many. I lead our gang up to the abbey, past the hotel where I composed my tune "Iona Morning" on a napkin seven years ago. We tour the abbey, and the stories of Celtic saints are told.

Home again

We enjoy a beautiful afternoon here. The thinness of the place is real. Jamie and I join a brief prayer service, led by a member of the Iona Community. The closing song is "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God." Here it is easy to imagine what we seek. The tune touches what is most alive in us.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! Something iconic and heavenly about this!