Iona is an island in the Hebrides, off the Western Coast of Scotland. It’s tiny – only a mile long with 125 year-round citizens. It is known as a Thin Place. In myth, a Thin Place is an atmosphere where only a tissue separates the material world from the spiritual world. Indeed, you can break through. The ancient Celts believed in Iona a traveler could often times touch “Otherworld” from his or her stance on the island.
I have read many books of fiction and non-fiction about Iona. I, myself, have written and spoken about it extensively but , I had never been there. It takes some steam to get there from America – a Transatlantic flight, a train, a bus and two ferries.
Often, one becomes set in one’s own plaster and, sometimes, we must break out of the life mask before it sets. There are instances when research involves not only information but inspiration. I had been working almost three years on a fiction project where a large part of the story takes place in Iona. I had decided my nose had spent too much time in a book. So I took the trek in the spring of this year (2015) to the Thin Place.
After so many years, I felt I had arrived at some facsimile of home. Because Iona is so small and an island not that far from the North Pole, the majestic skies are constantly changing. The lifestyle of the island is simple and beautiful : only a few cars, two organic gardens and two small hotels. There are no movie theatres and no cable. Yet, one is so stirred by the sacred aspect of nature, that one needs no other screen but the horizon.
I took a series of photos that are quite dramatic because they were enhanced by the Snapseed filter. It is a terrific and easy app for photos. Snapseed is free and idiot-proof so perfect for me. Someone asked me yesterday that they looked for “those Iona photos” on Pinterest and could not find them. That’s because they are not there. So I have posted a few of them here so others can partake in the drama and the beauty of Iona.
There is a Gaelic prediction that whoever goes to Iona will go not once, but three times. I am headed back there in October of 2015.