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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht


It is 25 years ago today that my friend and colleague confirmed the purchase of the historic Freswick Castle in the far north of Scotland, the place where the Wayfarer Trust was born and my life took on a whole new trajectory.

And it was supposedly on this day in the 5th Century that Saint Patrick of Ireland died.

Today, while in lockdown, Ireland is celebrating virtually. Families and communities around Ireland and abroad improvised their own parades, some of them indoors using toy tractors and cars and any old musical instrument lying around the house. Others ventured outdoors practising social distancing while they marched up and down their streets.

Green is the colour associated with St. Patrick’s Day, maybe for the shamrock that Patrick was known to use to illustrate the trinity in his sermons. Maybe just because, well, he was from Ireland.

It seems a fitting colour for this time, especially as it is nearing the official start of spring, and the colour is starting to show itself more in the natural surroundings.

I stepped out into my natural surroundings today, just to get some air and a blast of wind to clear the cobwebs and stretch my mind and scope beyond all things corona for a while. It felt good.

Another treasure of Edinburgh that is not quite as hidden as the Lane Sale on Jane Street are the Salisbury Crags. I walked there in the blustery weather in the early afternoon. There is evidence of the landscape moving from being wintry and washed-out to waking up and reaching out.

Some years ago, I remember my painting teacher suggesting that people weren’t really attracted to paintings with a lot of green in them. He said his ‘green’ paintings didn’t really sell. I wonder why that is. But now that I think about it, I’m not sure I would be drawn to largely green paintings, except to maybe match the green pillows on the couch.

Just kidding! Ahem.

(Right now I can imagine one or all of those pillows being thrown at me by some artist friends in the wake of that comment!)

It is a strange time.

However, it couldn’t be a better time to eke out creativity and life in new ways from the hard places, just like Moses who was told to strike his staff against the rock, producing a spring of fresh water.

In this challenging season, new life can emerge and grow, even from the dry and seemingly dead places, and as a result of the losses. The freshly created things will bring a re-shaped perspective to the reality of our circumstances, which are certainly serious, but not without some hope and light.

After getting some necessary groceries at

and making my way across the empty streets without much help needed from the green man

I picked up a hyacinth bulb that I saw for sale outside one of the shops further down the road.

When I got home I put it in the green ceramic goblet that I had picked up at the lane sale the other day.

When I looked at it, sprouting so confidently, the hyacinth seemed to be saying, 'For now, I'm proud to be green!'

Proud to be growing, hopeful, ready for spring.

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