There are two main books in my life, The Book of Salvation and The Book of Creation. The first one (the Bible) is always in my backpack wherever I go, the second one (God's creation) surrounds us always.
I am a bookaholic, reading always, buying book wherever I go. So also during my trip to Lindisfarne. Books where packed before I left, more books were bought at the airports we passed flying down there, Waterstones in Durham is a wonderful bookstore, and packing my backpack every morning for a day of walking on the Holy Island I always made sure to make room for books.
It didn't take me long though to realise that The Book of Creation became the most important book during my stay. I am going on another pilgrimage the coming days (to Vadstena and St.Birgitta in Sweden). This time I will make sure that there is space enough for The Book of Creation.
Walking around the island is very different depending on wether the tide is in or out. When the tide is in, only those living or staying overnight on the island are there. You easily find peace and quiet if that's what you search, you easily starts to talk with people you meet.
I met a man with his beautiful granddaughter during one of my walks, and it didn't take long for ice to break. After a while he suddenly asked: "What is your accent?"
My heart beamed. He didn't ask me which country I came from, he actually asked "where in England are you from"! I felt very proud and very Bristish :-)
Marta is studying English hard and eagerly these days. Every day she has new words to learn, and she writes pages up and down. Before leaving for Lindisfarne I asked her if she could send her cell phone messages for me in English. "Oh no, Mum. I will not do that. It will be just like doing homework when I write you!" The last night though her longing was too heavy, and late at night I got an sms: "To day I have ben in birthday. I miss you a lot. Love marta"
On the shore between the main island of Lindisfarne and the small St.Cutbert Island I collect small pieces of broken glass and porcelain. The place used to be the garbage place for the island, the only remains of this part of history today are these small colourful pieces. I keep them in a glass bowl on my desk, and from time to time let one or a few slip through my fingers while I say a prayer, (as a non-catholic this is my rosary)
As so many times before I walked in the sand, gathering "beads", praying, and after a while I sat down on one of the benches in silence.
Then all of a sudden the colourful beads got life. Bright, happy life. And the shore filled with laughter.
I felt blessed, picked up one of the beads from my pocket and kept on with my prayers.
Autumn and the fall of summer always makes me a little sad. The light Nordic nights fade, the sparkling colours of summer are gone, soon everything will be covered in a thick layer of snow and ice, as we cover our bodies with extra layers of wool. Yes, our Nordic winters are cold.
I am away all this week, on a deanery visitation with the bishop of Nidaros. And while driving back to the hotel this afternoon we met the first snow. I am not ready for this yet, though at the same time it is a blessing to live with the seasons and the different light, different weather and different experiences they give.
At Lindisfarne we also met the fading beauty of summer, or rather the rising beauty of autumn. I couldn't resist these thistles which I found on the beach behind the church. And turning around my eyes were met with the last roses of the season. God's creation is amazing, and it is changing every day. Open your eyes and you will see that beaty surrounds you everywhere.
After a dark morning the light can be almost too much for your eyes, and a few clouds can be a blessing. God's light is too bright for us, and he covers us in love to protect us from his almighty holiness, his burning light. Though sometimes he let his light shine directly on us.
At Lindisfarne, The Holy Island, the membrane is thin between heaven and earth. You feel God's light on you, to reveal and to heal, to give warmth and to show a little bit more of God's beauty and creation.
We didn't have much sun during our days, but still the sun and the light always reminded us that it was there, behind a thin membrane of clouds. I loved the way the light played and could never stop photographing it.
During my days on Lindisfarne I was the first one up in the mornings and I went out for long morning walks. The first morning I didn't know the island at all, and when I came outside the hotel everything was totally dark. I had my flashlight in my backpack and didn't want to wake my roommate, so I decided to just try to find my way.
I actually had no ide about the landscape, but managed to stay on the road, and after about half an hour my eyes managed to spot a bench along the road. I sat down in silence and prayers, and another half hour later I realised that I was on my way to the castle. I sat there breathing together with the growing light and the growing beauty.
The first morning I sat till light had overcome dark, and the beauty of the island sang in praise.
Sometimes we see only the darkness, and it is hard to imagine the beauty which is there, hidden.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Last photo is from the same spot as the first one. The beauty is there, you must open your eyes and let the light shine to see it.
Lindisfarne is an island at high tide, part of the mainland at low tide. Magnus Magnusson describes it like this - "when Aidan chose this site for hallowed work, it was the ambiguous insularity which must have helped inspire its election - this being of the mainland but not on it, this being of the world but not worldly, this being a retreat but not a hideaway"
Sir Walter Scott wrote a little more poetic:
For, with the flow and ebb its stile
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry-shod, o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way:
Twice every day, the waves efface
Of staves and sandaled feet the trace
Staying on the island felt like stayinh in a sanctuary, and it was not difficult to follow Father Damian's words, "let the island speak to you"
I took the first photo through the bus window the day we arrived at Lindisfarne. Second photo shows tide coming in covering the pilgrim path.
The days I spent at Lindisfarne will stay with me forever. It is not easy to share this in blogging, and there are so many things I never will want to share. At the same time I want to share with everybody more about this paradise on earth.
Blogging is becoming very popular. I read several blogs daily, and many of the blogs I read have become places I want to go back to again and again. Other blogs feel too private for me, and I feel like an intruder in someones private life when I read. Blogging is a balance, and I struggle to master it. ....Well, these thoughts are worth it's own blog entry one day. Today I want to take you with me to Lindisfarne and the Gertude Jekyll garden there. The garden, which was designed between 1906 and 1912, is situated below the Lindisfarne Castle, almost in the middle of nowhere.
Though this summer has been exceptional warm and nice in Great Britain, and the weather was still quite nice when we visited Lindisfarne, the beauty of the garden had faded. I hope to be able to come back during the summer one day to walk around in the garden and breath it's special charm and beaty.
The only other visitors the day I was there were the neighbour sheeps.
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!