Monday, 1 April 2013

Always Something New to Discover

I like to read Gerry Hassan’s blog from time to time & a paragraph in this one about Scottish independence  struck me as particularly relevant to our wee island, which is so often just a picture of the wider world in miniature: “More potent than the ‘powers’ perspective is the psychological case for self-government, within the context of a Scottish nation where people in their own lives have belief in themselves to stop blaming others (whether the UK Government, Tories or the English), and decide to grow up and run things better. This is about aiding and nurturing a wider sense of change which goes beyond the narrow political to the cultural. The psychological argument is about an independence of the mind.”  

One of the things I find most frustrating in my job is the amount of talk in the village about “something” that should be done by “someone”.  Why don’t you, the complainer, take responsibility and do it yourself?  Why are you still waiting for it to be someone else’s problem?

Minishal Lochan
Even so, I think the signs of a maturing community are here; we are gradually starting to believe in ourselves, growing up and running things better.  We’ve redesigned our website into something we’re really proud of.  Individuals are taking advantage of business opportunities.  The bar in the Castle has closed and someone suggested we apply for an events license for the village hall and have a bar there, with entertainment, at least once a month through the season.  The first night, Easter Saturday, went down well with locals and visitors.  I didn’t go, because I was tired from a day of discovering yet more parts of the island I hadn’t known were there...

Shellesder Caves

Our on-island website design team coined a tagline for Rum which is incredibly apt; “...always something new to discover”.  Almost two years on I still don’t feel that I’m done exploring.  We love the line so much that we’re using it all over the place, on signs, adverts, marketing leaflets, and even turning it into a little ditty that we hum to ourselves while walking (that may be just me).  Part of the reason it’s taking me so long to get to all parts of the island is that now I’ve done the easy ones, the rest involve a good deal more effort – venturing into places without paths, tripping over heather and falling down holes concealed by wind-blown grass.  Yet it’s incredibly rewarding to discover a hidden little lochan, pass below curious rock formations, or walk into caves with a Mediterranean feel to them.  The further you venture from the village, the more it feels as though yours are the first human eyes to see these fabulous things, the first feet to cross rocks scarred by glaciers.

Atlantic Coire
Now that we’ve made it through the winter without killing each other (sometimes living here is like living with an extended family over a Christmas that drags on for months after the cake’s been eaten and the decorations taken down), I’m going to try applying our slogan to the people I know so well, yet know so little about.  It’s easy to forget that everyone had a life before Rum, just as I forget that my parents had a whole life of their own before I came along.  This month I want to get to know my neighbours better, understand where they’re coming from, and maybe live a richer life as a result.

Ps: I saw our heart-attack friend in hospital four days after the event.  He said he felt better than ever, as though he'd been through a good service and MOT.  We had a good conversation about coming to terms with your own mortality and how maybe it's easier in some way to be the one doing the dying than to be the ones watching.  It made me think about how much there is that I don't know, about so many things.  It was good to see him looking so well.

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