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Just sharing something. I had come to know of Iain’s work through now 4 years of long-distance hiking in Britain – or, more specifically, through my many hours spent in the natural world, in many remote places such as Cheviot Hills, North York Moors and different places in Scotland. Over time, it began to dawn on me that there was something spiritual, numinous and indivisible about my interaction with and experience of the natural world. It is/was difficult to put in words (embodied thought/feelings do not depend on language) and it was all about being in/with the world, intersubjectively, rather than using the world for my means. Subconsciously, I was rejecting suggestions from friends/colleagues/family that “walking is good for your health”: what I did and do when hiking is not for my health: it’s for the soul.
In 2021 and 2022, over 5 separate trips to Scotland, I hiked the Scottish National Trail, an informal route taking me from Scottish Borders (south) past Edinburgh and Glasgow, via Trossachs, Cairngorms all the way to the north (Cape Wrath), the final bit indeed not far from where Iain lives on Skye. The last ten days of it, spent mostly in the wilderness with very few contacts with any human beings, and backpacking, took me through some of the most spectacular natural places I’ve seen in Britain. I was also alone – and completely reinvigorated, alive. I was finally a part of nature, part of what surrounds us, not apart from it. It felt like my soul was cleansed.
Then, two months later I came across Iain’s work, and it struck me, rather speedily, that so much of what he speaks of speaks to my experience: relating to the world, being in it rather than manipulating it, that a whole is not quite the sum of its parts and his thoughts on everything being a process – a river, a mountain, myself. That sensation of the process accompanied me for the entirety of my long Scottish trek. Everything moved around me, and changed, and changed me as well.
I’ve written two poems recently, thinking of my reactions and experiences on the trail – particularly while at Sandwood Bay and Kearvaig Bay (both within a few miles of Cape Wrath) and put them into two videos, which use some clips I shot when I was there. These are a combination of my own experiences and what I have taken from Iain. Both of these are on YouTube: perhaps you will find them of interest. That said, I am no William Wordsworth!
The Glory of Nothingness: https://youtu.be/djbzMDjkg2Q
The Indivisible: https://youtu.be/qad3QPzXXZM