There is a very unusual cloud formation on the island and I’ve observed and photographed it several times and I really must find out the scientific reason for why it happens. It’s a vertical column that seems to go from the bare rock straight into a more fluffy “Cumulus” cloud and I’ve been calling it Jacobs Ladder. If I see it I almost instantly feel better, which seems so inane that a cluster of vapour can make that kind of difference. But I think it’s more the spiritual associations which make me feel happier. I’m not often in need of a pick-me-up, however this overhead phenomenon when combined with a run, can be a perfect mood enhancer. Cue that fixed grin. Suddenly I can overcome anything. I might even become a good and worthwhile citizen one of these days.
I really dislike answering this question and I get asked it a lot as a new inhabitant of the islands: which church do you go to? Because once I answer, a thousand inferences and judgements will be made and I always thought that this response was very unchristian! But it’s difficult not to judge and it’s very human to do so; best [printable] reaction ever was “….absolutely no way do you go there!”
In reality the hills are my church. I’ve never felt as close to God as when I am on the top of the highest peak, preferably balancing on the cairn with the wind making my stay ever more precarious and invigorating. Well it *is technically nearer isn’t it? Being high up to be closer to God is reflected in the Bible itself and as a kid I always loved the story of Jacobs ladder, the premise of the tower of Babel or that Sermons or visions often happened “on the mount”.
I can be in a church and feel slightly despondent at the pomp of the schedule and drill of the psalm and reading order. But then, I’m not a very structured person and routines don’t often suit my mood, so I usually avoid them where possible. I get a feeling of freedom and an openness to think about my beliefs whenever it’s just me and the expansive sky above. Where the air is pure and the bustle of life is a mere speck in the distance; this is my kirk. I go to the mountains to feel Closer to God, there, I said it.