Picture This: At Peace at Pluscarden Abbey

by Keith Savage · 3 comments

The roads of modernity lay over northern Scotland like a thread-bare cardigan. The green spaces between their meandering borders weave a chronological legerdemain and trick every sense into believing the epochs and eras of time exist concurrently. So Pluscarden Abbey strikes me, blooming in the sun after a brief wooded walk where an abbot clad in a black shroud wandered deep in thought. This glade, south of the massive Heldon Wood somewhere between Elgin and Forres in Moray, rings with silence. The eye-blue sky holds static clouds and the rare stillness of the place shushes all of life’s niggling fears and worries into quietude.

I’m no spiritual maven. I resist religious dogma and abide by no prescribed rules of worship. And yet there is something close to peace in the air at Pluscarden Abbey. I don’t want to write the word “peace” – it sounds so cliché – but that is the closest descriptor of that gentle envelope. I see a monk chatting with a patron in the small parking lot beneath tall shade trees. Pluscarden has hunkered down here for many, many centuries, but I don’t know its history. I don’t want to know it. I don’t want to analyze anything about the constellation of sensations upon me. Sometimes what we learn only serves to darken our understanding.

Just One Boomer (Suzanne)No Gravatar August 2, 2012 at 11:06 PM

In the modern world, it’s increasingly difficult to find a place like you found at Pluscarden where people have built a fairly massive structure—and then left it to the monks and the silence. Often one must climb a mountain to find the kind of silence that lets you hear the inside of your brain.

I’m trying to resist clicking on the “history” link, but I will probably succumb. I hope I don’t have to read about raping, pillaging and burning Vikings and clans, and about religious wars.


Just One Boomer (Suzanne)No Gravatar August 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM

Warning: Don’t click on the “history” hyperlink if you want to remember Pluscarden as it is described in this post.


KenNo Gravatar August 2, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Nice. I know that feeling.


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