After morning worship on Tuesday we all donned our Wellies and backpacks and began our long pilgrimage throughout the island. Our first stop was St. Martins cross just outside of the abbey where we reflected on the deep and vibrant religious history on the island. Next we stopped at a nook on the side of the abbey where Joe and Drew presented us with a dramatic representation of God summoning us to the journey of Christ.
The next stop on our journey was about a mile down the road at the spot of the only place on the island where two paths meet at a crossroads. Here we stopped to rest and journaled about the personal crossroads that we were reaching in our own lives; the decisions that we would be making in the future that maybe we would need God's help with.
Following our eye opening journal session, we began the long and tedious trek through the bog that sits on the south side of the island in hopes of arriving at the marble quarry that lies on the coast there. It hasn't rained here in a while and at first it appeared that we weren't going to have a problem with wet ground, but we soon discovered that this would not be the case. Underneath the vegetation in this area there is standing water and mud, and Shari was the first one to get up close and personal with it. Her boots got stuck in the mud and when she was attempting to extract herself she ended up on her back drenched in mud.
Ben was the next person to fall victim to the bog. Along the path there was a stream surrounded by mud, and Ben who was not wearing Wellies, had the smart idea that he was going to jump over the creek. For a moment it really looked like he was going to make it over, but at the last moment his back foot caught the edge of the mud, and fell face first into the mud.
The next victims were Matt and Emery. Without Wellies, Matt was forced to hop, on Emery's back to cross the mud. Halfway across, Emery found himself stuck knee deep in muck, while Matt was safe on the other side. Matt decided to go back and attempt to help Emery out of the mud. After many tugs and pulls, and no luck, Matt decided to yank Emery up out of the mud. Matt then found himself sitting in the mud, soaking wet.
Once we arrived in the general area of the quarry, we had to split up into groups to search for it, as it was hidden down by the shore. We spent a good hour and a half looking along the shore before Emery, Matt, Ben, John, Kirk, Chris, and Teresa arrived at the gorge on the edge of the shore. The rest of the group soon arrived, and together we basked in the sun, and searched for Iona marble, a special type of white marble with serpentine swirled through it that can only be found on Iona. Here we reflected on how our actions as humans effect God's creation and how it is our responsibility to take care of that creation.
After just taking some time to enjoy God's creation we made the long trek back to our hostel and smashed some spectacular fried chicken made by Brianna and Annika. We couldn't have asked for a better day to walk across the island. The sun was shining bright, and the sky was actually clear. Obviously we couldn't help but watch the sunset, so while some watched from the house, and some watched from the beach, Ben, Chris, Emery, Joe, and Gus climbed to the top of Dun I and watched the sun go down from what felt like the top of the world.
We finished the night with a powerful worship service on the beach before we all crashed into bed.
It was a day filled with reflection for everyone, and during one of those times of reflection, Annika wrote a poem that all will agree encapsulated our day, and so we will end this post with her very elegant words:
Travelers wandering into the lands of the unknown, each ending up in the same destination.
Sunshine soaked up by their souls, dedicated they were; never giving up.
Steep valleys where the green grass flourishes, home to the soaring birds in the blue sky.
The sea guiding them, the wind whispers in their ears.
White marble sparkles in the sun, they rest.
Bright blue water welcomes them with kisses of salt, the waves just barely touching them.
Young travelers are never lost, The compass of Christ directs them to his temple.
Into nature to free our minds; Not looking, but to find our souls.