I feel a little guilty about blogging about this because it feels like an invasion of someone’s privacy.I found this photocopied photograph of a couple on their wedding day – taken in the 1940s perhaps? (click on the image to enlarge – and let me know if you can more specific!). It had been crumpled up and wedged into a gap between stones that formed the large cairn on Dun I. I used to climb up Dun I (the highest point on Iona at a mere 328 feet) quite frequently during my time on Iona – it’s just a 20-minute walk from the Abbey - usually so I could watch the sun set over the ocean.
It’s been well over a week since I discovered the image (I’m writing this from home in Bristol) and I’ve found myself thinking about it on a regular basis ever since.
I obviously don’t know ANYTHING about the photograph and can only speculate about why it was there (and realise that there could be a whole host of possible explanations).
These are MY assumptions – all probably incorrect(!):
That the picture had been left by a son or daughter.
That the husband and wife are now both dead.
That it might have been “planted” on Dun I to mark their wedding anniversary.
That the photograph had been left on top of Dun I very deliberately – the decision to do so certainly wasn’t an impulsive decision.
That the person who left the photograph had made the journey especially for this purpose.
That Iona (and perhaps the view from the top of Dun I?) had special significance for the husband and wife (and/or the son/daughter?).
That the photograph had been left in gratitude.
I discovered the photograph just as the sun was setting on a simply beautiful, wind-less evening.
I said a quiet prayer and returned it to its original place on the cairn.
It reminded me about the precious contributions that family members have made to my own life and that, perhaps, I’ve all too often under-valued the love and support that I received from my own parents (my father died in 1992 and my mother in 1999).
I very much hope that the person/people who left the photograph found the experience helpful/beneficial/significant.
I found their gesture valuable and surprisingly poignant for me personally.