I know I’m exhausted when my lunch consists of food from my emergency stash. Nothing screams “Vacation Time!” like the emergency can of tuna. Perhaps my lack of desire to cook/energy to grocery shop/will to do the days worth of dishes is what led me to Carla Laureano’s book Five Days in Skye.
I did enjoy this book: it took me away from the marking and end-of-year business at work. Besides a handsome man who is well-spoken, independently rich, motivated, succesful, and a fantastic cook who does the dishes, the idea of taking time to enjoy nature to RELAX is what appealed to me when reading this book. Although I have never been to Scotland, the idea of the Highlands is intriguing and captivating. In her novel, Laureano describes sunrises breaking through Scottish mists, breath-taking views of mountains and forest, and of course, ancient ruins, like Duntulm Castle.
While reading about the female protagonist’s journey to let go of her past and how she is able to think and heal in the Scottish Highlands, I couldn’t help but think of Wordsworth and his poem “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye During a Tour” from Lyrical Ballads in July 1798. In the novel, as Andrea tours Skye and takes in a lot of the local sights, she is able to unwind and to process her chaotic life. This idea of ‘nature as healer’ is perfectly suited to the Romantics.
It is interesting that Wordsworth’s title, which is often shortened to “Tintern Abbey,” includes that he wrote this poem after a tour. He was taken to Tintern Abbey and there he had time and space to think, ponder, and to heal.
Even though I don’t like mornings and so I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sun rise (especially not in a Scottish mist), I can still recall moments of stillness in the Rocky Mountains close to home and when I think of those moments of tranquility I can’t help but think of these lines from Wordsworth:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. (63-66)
Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods
And mountains, and of all that we behold
From this green earth, of all the mighty world
of eye and ear (both what they half-create
And what perceive)–well-pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, and guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being. (103-112)
For now the memories of the mountains and my connection to nature while out in the Rockies will have to suffice; I will continue on until summer vacation and hope that my emergency stash of tuna will get me through to my next tour of the Rockies!
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. (Psalm 145:5)