Last Sunday I headed out for my walk – which I have to confess I am not doing as regularly as I had been. Usually, when I head out, I have no particular direction or route in mind, I just like to go where my instinct leads me. Sometimes this can lead to losing my way, and an intended one-hour walk can easily turn into two hours, and this was certainly the case on this occasion. Happy as I am for golfers having been able to return to their favourite pastime, I am missing Cadder Golf Course as a place of many walking possibilities, and so my instinct took me in another direction altogether, firstly through the wooded area at the back of our estate. This wooded area is protected because of a rare breed of frogs residing in the pond behind our house. However, I would suggest, there is now another reason why this area must be protected. As I meandered along the path, clambering over fallen logs, and ducking under overhanging branches, I saw a notice nailed to a tree that I am sure wasn’t there the last time I took this path. The notice said “Fairies live here”, and, sure enough, as I continued my walk, I came upon some very excited children, meandering with their parents, who were searching for little fairy doors on some of the trees, where no doubt these fairies dwelt. Not wanting to disturb them, or to scare the fairies away, I left them to it, and continued on my way.
Leaving the woods, I made my way towards Low Moss, and cut across an open grassy area which, on most of the paths, comes to a halt at a small burn, ditched on either side, a hundred metres or so from Low Moss prison walls. This is where, on previous occasions, I have turned back, but, on the path I had taken this time, I came upon a little wooden bridge that let me cross the burn, and follow a path along the perimeter of the prison walls and into another wooded area, much more extensive than the area behind our house where the fairies live. I always believe that, if there is a path, it must lead somewhere, and I thought that this path must surely bring me out somewhere that would mean I didn’t need to retrace the way I had come, which I never like having to do. At times, however, the path was very indistinct, but I kept going anyway. Leaving the prison walls behind, I found myself walking beside the perimeter fence of one of the units in the industrial estate where some socially distanced workers were stacking pallets. I thought I had hit a dead end when, out of the blue, I saw some people coming towards me walking their dogs. I made a space to let them by and asked them if this path would lead me out on to the road again, and they said it would, but, as this was their first time on this path, they asked me where it would bring them in the direction I had come from. Having exchanged information, we each continued on our way. Half an hour later I still hadn’t come out onto the road, and I came to a point that was definitely familiar to me, meaning that, somehow, I had managed to walk in circles and gotten nowhere. I ended up doing what I hadn’t wanted to do, and retraced my steps. On the way I met my earlier friends retracing their steps too, so obviously they hadn’t found their way out by the way I came either. On another day I will walk that way again and discover where I went wrong. I re-entered the woods at our estate to get back home. By now it was raining quite heavily, and so the children with their parents had sensibly disappeared. That left the coast clear for me to search for the fairy doors myself, of which I found many. How exciting!
Other than that, we opened the church on Wednesday for personal prayer and Confessions, and will do the same on Saturday and Sunday. There was a lovely, prayerful atmosphere, with the Blessed sacrament exposed and candles lighting; and everyone (well almost, there’s always one awkward customer) was happy to abide by the protocols, just glad to be back in St. Mungo’s. As it was a beautiful day there was no problem with leaving the doors open for easy entry and exit. It was so good to see people we hadn’t seen in such a while, and we look forward to repeating the same for the next couple of weeks, and then gradually increasing the number of days and hours until we get back to normal, or at least to the new normal. Praise the Lord! Meantime, protect yourselves and your loved ones, and protect Christ in your lives.