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Here is Gillean’s foreword to this year’s summer newsletter:
Summer is a time for getting out and about and meeting friends old and new. As I write this the weather is glorious and it has certainly encouraged me to spend more time out of doors, sometimes enjoying the garden or the view or walking with my dog Bramble and during these walks I too have made a new friend. I meet him each evening just as it is getting dark. Same place, almost the same time. He’s an otter and each night on my last walk with the dog he crosses our path coming from the sea into the burn at the bottom of my garden. If I want to see him (and I can hardly describe the joy that meeting offers me at the end of each day), I have to watch the clock and the sky carefully. I have to allow for the slightly later sunset each day and judge the time of my walk with precision. He (or perhaps she) is the most regular of visitors to my garden. He’s utterly reliable and yet he has no watch, no clock, no diary and no visible timetable. There is no electronic beeping to wake him up and no ritual turning of off lights and closing of doors before sleep. We humans are creatures governed by these things. We are at once fascinated and trapped by the relentless hound that is time!
A new exhibit in the National Museum of Scotland is a wonderful timepiece called a Midsummer Chronophage Clock. It was made by the man who invented the switch on your automatic electric kettle! The clock is designed to slow down or even stop occasionally just to remind us that everyone experiences time differently. On the top of the clock there is a huge insect that appears to be eating up the minutes. In my worst nightmares the time consuming insect might swallow me down in one great gulp!
My friend the otter lives in harmony with the times and seasons. The sun and moon and the length of days are his clock. As creatures of the same God we travel very different paths and experience time in very different ways but in the crossing of our paths I have glimpsed something of God’s greatness that can encompass us all and that transcends time.
Timeless and ageless God of eternity, grant us the wisdom to use the time you have given us carefully and thankfully and to set aside just a little of that gift to simply wonder.