Sunday, April 02, 2006

A last walk with Spike

On Friday we had the sad news that Spikey Boy had passed away. It was very sad. He was not a young dog anyway, but recently he had developed a heart condition that lead to him being put down. I know that he was in a dog's home in Ilfracombe and we just sponsored him, but yesterday I decided to imagine that I was taking him for a last walk along the Caledonian Canal - I was there for real, but Spike was there in my imagination!

It was a lovely morning, and last Sunday one of the things spoken about in my breaking free was about the need to get out and enjoy nature. I don't want people to speak into my life and not put it into practice, but it has rained throughout the week. Yesterday was a bright and dry morning. Because of the wet days beforehand, it was quite muddy, with lots of puddles for Spike to trail through.

There were no other dogs, and very few people. One couple we met were armed with binoculars trained on a huddle of seagulls squatting on an empty pontoon in the marina. Seagulls are just seagulls to me, and I don't differentiate between the varieties - guillemots and such. The other couple were canal workers. It must have been low tide as they were able to wade ankle deep at the edge of the canal picking up rubbish and putting it in black bags. They were chatting as they paddled along.

We saw two swans. The one piece of information that always surfaces about swans comes from watching a film with Drew Barrymore in it. Swans mate for life. They remain faithful to one another throughout their life span. These were very elegant swans. They always remind me of sailing boats with full white sails. Your ducks and things are like the motor boats chugging along, but swans - they sail.

One of the saddest things we saw, on the bank of the canal where the workers had not yet reached, on a stone step leading down to the water, was a single empty syringe. I guess that Inverness has its fair share of drug takers, but it seemed sad to me that the quiet and the beauty of the place was not enough to restore someone's inner peace. The Beauly Firth was stretching our in front, with shifting ripples of water, all against a backdrop of hill and snow capped mountains. If nature was enough to restore peace in people's lives, there would be no need for the cross of Jesus.

It was such a quiet spot. On the road to Beauly, on one side of the firth you could see and hear cars and lorries trundling along. On the other side, the far distant bank of North Kessock, you could catch glimpses of light reflecting off windscreens of cars along the road, but right where Spike and I stood, at the entrance to the canal, everything was still. It just brought back to me that in the hurry and scurry of life, we need a quiet and tranquil place - a quiet place. For me that time is about being with God and allowing him to put back together what the world would tear apart.

A place of peace
Where struggles cease
Where striving ends
And rest descends

To float, to sail
To breathe, inhale
Your Presence sweet
I'm made complete

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