Urban Highlander (Or a Former New York Yank in Rural Scotland)

The Isle of Eigg is home of the famous ‘Singing Sands’ beach.  Basically, the sand is made of quartz crystals and when you shuffle along it makes a chirping sound.  The drier the sand, the better the sound.  This is Scotland however and though I heard the sand sing in August when the sand was still rather damp, this time around in October I could procure no sound at all.  Still, the beach with its rough and wild paradisal beauty is well worth visiting. That is why one morning I left the bothy at 8:30 and made my way there again.

It is simply breath-taking.

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I cannot describe the elation I felt when I spotted the familiar Welly-boot Bridge DSCN1830and the sheer joy of being back on that shore even if the sand didn’t sing for me this time. I spent a good hour gazing through my binoculars and taking photos in total bliss.  DSCN2088

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I visited Singing Sands beach several times in the past and found my way there easily enough again. Which makes what happened a bit strange I guess for I managed to get lost coming back. Perhaps the beauty of the scenery played against my usual directional impairment.

Sheep?  Did I pass sheep coming here?

Didn’t I pass these ferns?  I am sure I passed these ferns.

Wait!  I am sure I went over this stone wall…or did I go over this stone wall?

The trouble I had with finding my way back wasn’t because I didn’t know which direction to walk. The Isle of Eigg is small and the bothy was not that long of a distance away from Singing Sands. However, there was more than one route I could take.  The route I ended up on seemed to want to take me through somebody’s farm.  Perhaps it is because I was brought up a city girl but I just thought it would be rude of me to trespass…and I dunno maybe dangerous?  I kept envisioning old-time American movies I had seen of men with rifles protecting their land from trespassers (and Charlie had made a few comments about wanting to shoot things and I never knew if it was in jest or not).  The way I had always taken had been less cumbersome and had less boggy areas.   I didn’t want to go by just any route, I wanted to go via the same route I had previously taken which didn’t bother anyone and was less of a hassle.

After trying different directions, I decided to go back toward Singing Sands to get my bearings.  Only yet again I was coming at it from a slightly different direction and managed to fall going over some slippery rocks…into a cow pat.

Luckily, it was just one of my water-proof hiking shoes which went into the cow pat. I decided I was going to have to go back to the beach to clean my shoe.  Maybe that decision made me further careless as I then managed to get both my feet ankle-deep in boggy mud while beginning to lose my balance and caused me to instinctively reach out a hand for support… on a barbed wire fence.  My fingers were now bleeding and I was muddy and embarrassed and hoping that after cleaning my water-proof hiking shoes I’ll be able to find my way back to the bothy without passing anyone.

I washed my shoes by the shore as best as I could but as luck would have it (and I was having none that day) I misjudged the tide and managed to get my water-proof hiking shoes completely submerged.

After cleaning my shoes, I made my way back to the bothy with the help of some volunteers who I happened to come across.  It was now about 1:30 and I hadn’t had breakfast and I looked a state but I was glad to be back and not stranded in a land full of cow manure!

My state of mind at that point was one of practicality.  My shoes had gotten muddy again on my way back and my jeans and socks were muddy as well.  So I washed them and laid them out to dry.  I started a fire in the stove, made some lunch as there was no point having breakfast at this time and because I intended to have a much-earned glass of wine.  I think I had two.

After a conversation with a fellow blogger (dhammafootsteps) who is Buddhist about many paths which possibly lead to the same direction, I was able to reflect upon the day’s mishap in a more thoughtful light.  Why do we choose a particular spiritual path? Do we avoid other paths because of fears we may have?  Are we afraid a different choice might offend or lead us down boggy paths?  Did I choose my path because I thought it was ‘cow pat’ free?

Actually, I think I chose my path in spite of the cow pats I expected to find.  After a while, I learned to dance around the cow pats.  After more time, I realize there were never any cow pats to begin with. I wish that had been true on the Isle of Eigg that day though.

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