Sojourning with Grief-Arriving Home

“Belong.” Most people I talk with yearn for a sense of belonging. Glasgow city centre.

“Belong.” Most people I talk with yearn for a sense of belonging. Glasgow city centre.

Grief Offers a New Horizon

The long flight to Amsterdam was offset by periods sleep. Being able to recline almost to horizontal with a blanket and pillows allowed sprinkles of dreams to dot my inner landscape and I saw dragons flying alongside the plane, watching over us all. The reverberation of the Friday night blessing still lingered in my body and Loreena McKennitt’s song, Ancient Pines, echoed in the background. I was at peace. When awake, Jamie, the flight attendant, would offer a warm wash cloth, snack, or other kindness and I kept saying “thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Inside me a spring sunrise is cresting an unknown horizon, painting the sky the colors of persimmons, tangerines, and habaneros. As the sun awakens my deepest desires, the cool air of a long winter condenses into droplets of gratitude and tears flow without warning as I raise the shade and see the sun literally rising on the horizon.

These tears will continue to erupt like a perverse volcano, gushing salted water not lava, when my second flight approaches Glasgow. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are 15 minutes from our destination, Glasgow, Scotland, UK…” and I look out the window to see hills, trees, roadways, and stonewalls dotting the landscape. And all I can think is “I’m home.” The tears continue to spillover throughout the day. They have sat in deep wells for an undetermined amount of time. They can no longer be contained.

Inner landscape from 30,000 feet

Inner landscape from 30,000 feet

Being Remembered—Ancient Desire

I have been journaling by hand as I go along. Parts of the above reflection was from my flight over to Scotland. After I settled into my hotel, I did what all people who only have an afternoon do before heading out early the next day in a busy city—explore the cemetery. In this case the Glasgow Necropolis. Gravestone upon gravestone greeted me as I wandered for a couple of hours among the “beloved” and “in loving memory” inscriptions (I wondered if anyone ever erected a “Here lies my husband, He was miserable to live with. Life is more cheerful now.” Probably not allowed.) Time had a say in what was readable and many were now in decay and it was a reminder that what we humans construct, nature still has a say in what remains. It was also shows how being remembered seems to be part of “belonging.” Most of us want to be remembered.

Glasgow Necropolis, a gathering of gravestones.

Glasgow Necropolis, a gathering of gravestones.

I also stopped by the Glasgow Cathedral which had a stained glass window dedicated to my long ago family trade: Cooper. Scotland is known for its whiskey and barrels would be important, so it makes sense now I think about it! I found out later as I wandered around this Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris was burning. A sad event. Fire-such a powerful element that can forge metal into tools to build something as awe-inspiring as Notre-Dame and then turn parts of it to rubble.

Sojourning with my Ancient Self

Glasgow is a modern city with an ancient history. Or is it an ancient city that has been modernized? The windows of new businesses reflect how the two settle in side-by-side. I am both a modern and ancient being. Sojourning through this land is giving me an opportunity to reflect on how the two can exist side-by-side.

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Day two’s travels from Glasgow to the Isle of Mull will wait for later as the hour is late. A taste for what is ahead: I was serenaded on the train by John, who, though I don’t think he knows it, was likely a troubadour in some previous life.


On your own journey, where do you feel the sun is rising? Do you ever feel both like an ancient being and a modern human?

Ancient architecture reflected in modern windows. Glasgow, Scotland

Ancient architecture reflected in modern windows. Glasgow, Scotland

Cooper mean barrel-maker

Cooper mean barrel-maker

Time erases the names on gravestones.

Time erases the names on gravestones.

A magpie who is comfortable make his home among the bones of the past.

A magpie who is comfortable make his home among the bones of the past.