Day 3, Tuesday – and celebrating the ordinary with something a little different

In the first two days of Marie’s challenge on Journeying beyond Breast Cancer, I have been struck by the enormity and complexity of celebrating the ordinary.  Already, I have had insights both visual and descriptive, into the lives of friends on the blogosphere.  The images are striking and the words underneath them tell so much.

I know that I am fortunate in having no shortage of material (well, perhaps that is the understatement of a few millennia) and  I am surrounded by amazing sights, and experience so many “oh gosh” heart stopping moments in an ordinary day, living in a place very different to my original and home culture.

So today, I want to do something a little different.  I am perhaps cheating a little in that this is not one of the images I have taken today (oh yes, of course I have already taken quite a few) but a picture from my “archive”.  And of course there is a story behind this.

For going on 20 years, I have regularly spent time on the tiny Scottish island of Lismore.  The island has a population of around 150. Yes, 150.  150 people, not homes.  The island itself is around 10 miles long (perhaps 16 kilometres) and at its widest point, around  2 miles wide.  Which is just over 3 kilometres.  A tiny island with a tiny population.

Every year, when I visit the UK, I always try and spend as much time as possible on the island, and was able to spend longer than usual there after the nine months of cancer treatment.  Spending time there is not as easy as it sounds given the fact that my family are spread around the UK and getting to Lismore (on public transportation) is complex.  It involves trying to coordinate bus times, train times and ferry times and usually means a dawn start to get to the island the same day.  However, once on the island, time slows down and the important things take over. Precious time with family, long walks exploring the island, and my usual jaunt to the minute tidal island of Bernara just at the western edge of Lismore.  If Lismore is tiny, I am not sure how to describe Bernera.

To get to Bernera, it is vital to check the tide tables, as the island is only accessible at low tide when the causeway appears. I have spent hours there, watching the tide go down and the path miraculously appear, watching the tide come up slowly and the island become distinct from the bigger island, and especially watching the inhabitants of the island.  And I am sure there must be a lot more than 150 of them, a clan of hardy, common grey seals, hanging out, fishing, swimming and lounging on the stony shores of Bernera.  It is fortunate that the Scottish summer evenings are so long, as it gives so much extra time to wander, watch and wonder.

In addition to the seal population, there is a sizeable sheep population which must far exceed the number of human inhabitants of the whole island.  It often feels as if they are the ones in charge.  I do not know how many times I have looked back, or up, to see a number of eyes fixed on me.  And that is the image which I want to share today.

But times are changing, my future visits to the island unsure and my long breaks there unlikely in the same way.  I will have to rely on memories and the many photographs, and of course there are some pictures of visits to the island as well as a few from the island itself.

Celebrate the ordinary today, because tomorrow may be different.

7 thoughts on “Day 3, Tuesday – and celebrating the ordinary with something a little different

  1. Philippa, I must admit that I’ve used photos from my archive, too. I figure it’s okay to break that rule as long as we stick to the theme of celebrating the ordinary. And that’s exactly what you did. This little island reminds me of New Zealand, which I heard has more sheep than people. I love the image of those sweet animals curious to know what you are up to with your camera. What a lovely memory. If you can’t go back, then the photos serve as great reminders. That’s what I do, too, regarding places like Rarotonga that I’m not likely to visit again. I love your last line. So true. I’m off to bed now, possibly to face a different tomorrow. xox

  2. Oh Philippa, I just love where you went with today’s’s certainly ok to cheat a little on this one 😉 I too am really struck by the depth of emotion and feeling that has been stirred up in our posts – I feel very moved by everyone’s images and stories too.

  3. I love the Atlantic islands of Scotland. Time does indeed stop there. I love Jura too where the deer well outnumber humans.thanks for this image, it’s wonderful.Its a fine morning in Edinburgh today so I am sending a warm hello from Scotland. A xxx

  4. I’d love to see Scotland, especially now that I’ve learned there are Scottish islands. Friends of mine of Scottish descent rave about their time there. BTW, I’ve written tomorrow’s “Celebrating the Ordinary,” and I’ve mentioned you.


  5. Reblogged this on Feisty Blue Gecko – a tail of the unexpected and commented:

    Last August I wrote about celebrating the ordinary. This post is particularly pertinent and poignant right now as I have returned to Scotland, for the reasons alluded to in this post.
    In this intense and difficult time of grief and loss words are few for the moment, but to repeat what I said at that time:

    “But times are changing, my future visits to the island unsure and my long breaks there unlikely in the same way. I will have to rely on memories and the many photographs……..
    Celebrate the ordinary today, because tomorrow may be different.”

    And indeed it is.

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