The rain came down in a steady rhythm; I know from my experiences with the Indigenous Peoples of North America that rain on a ceremony is a blessing. I was not bothered by it.
Dressed for the weather, we drove south from Ballachulish along Loch Linnie to Glencoe Wood, home of the land conservation effort of Highland Titles, where I have a plot of land that is 10’x10’. I won it a year after I had purchased two 1’x1’ plots, one for Kyle and one for me. I won the larger plot by writing the earlier posts on this blog.
Today I saw my land for the first time.
We met up with Stephen, who had introduced me to Highland Titles at the Highland Games in Pleasanton, CA a couple of years ago; Stewart, who leads the tours of the land and helps people find their plots; and Helen, one of the people who were inspired enough to work to save the natural beauty of the Highlands. As we waited for the group to gather, we stood at the shoreline of Loch Linnie and watched rainbows come and go as the rain stopped and the clouds lifted.
We hiked up the one lane road that used to be the Oban Road in to the hills, and half way up were happy to find a picnic table where we could shed layers and finish the hike in tee-shirts. We used our shovels for hiking sticks and made our way in the sunshine, with Stewart guiding us via GPS, to my part of the land. We had purpose other than seeing the land: Stewart and Stephen brought tree saplings for us to plant, and we all knew the special intention I had in planting on my plot of land specifically.
My part of the whole lays next to where the second man-made loch will be installed in an open, heather-covered meadow that is higher up than the small pines that were planted years ago as a source of timber, but not as high as the highest part of the entire Estates. A grove of young trees that were planted a year or so ago begins just a few yards away and continues out in to the meadow. The surrounding hills of the Highlands give the meadow a sense of containment and protection.
I cannot think of a better place anywhere on Earth for me to place my father’s ashes.
My father had a quick and highly intelligent mind, a geodesic mind to use the metaphor of one of his favorite things: Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. He had the soft, playful spirit of an elf, and the heart and soul of a Druid. He was never happier than when he was out in the forest; never more at ease than when he was far out in the open countryside and under the open sky; never more at peace than when he had solitude.
So it was very fitting to plant rowan trees, long honored by the Celts for balance of beauty and hardiness, into a field of heather, a symbol of clearing, cleansing and manifesting purity. I planted the first one, placing my prayers of “thank-you” in the small hole along with his ashes and the sapling rowan. Kyle planted the next one, and Liisa planted the third.
They stand now as a triad to honor his Heart, Mind and Spirit.
(To read about how the trees were doin two years later, go here.)