On Saturday I travelled from Lewis back to Glasgow. I knew it was going to be hard leaving, as I had been sensing this on the island all week.
I was amongst friends in Ullapool the previous weekend at Feis Rois, friends I hadn’t seen for years and shared their music and songs and felt part of ‘it’, part of the ‘scene’. I felt again what I once used to feel in Scotland.
After Ullapool I traveled the ferry journey home to Lewis and hung out with my parents. Mum and I went to the opening of a new art exhibition at the new museum in Stornoway. The museum is now housed in a very tasteful contemporary extension of the Lewis Castle. The event was also the launch of a book of poetry – Maritime by Ian Stephen – so there was a reading with music too. The Castle has been returned to its former glory, it’s being put to good use, as it should be. It stands in the middle of the Castle grounds overlooking the town and harbour, visitors will see it first as they approach from the sea.
We went for lunch one day in Borve so I sat in the back of the car, as I used to as a child, and watched the moor roll by admiring its emptiness. I listened to my parents discuss local politics, the community wind farm and the St Kilda centre, which is only in its planning stages, and I felt their sense of connection to where they are from, that they love where they live and that they want to do what they can to make it as good a place to live as possible. They have always been involved and active within the community and it makes me so proud and full of love. They care not just for themselves but for the community as a whole. They are not alone. This is what I knew would be hard to leave. The land, the sea, the weather and the work that comes from these has such an immediate effect on the people – to this day – it is all still so closely entwined. Out of that comes the music, language, poetry, stories and songs. All this is what my heart ached for as we taxi’d along the runway and the tears rolled down my cheeks.