A Quaker View on Fracking

My dears, much time recently has been spent in reading about and considering the application by Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton in the heart of the Ryedale countryside. North Yorkshire County Council Planning Committee recently approved the application despite over 4300 objections.

Quakers in Britain have a commitment to sustainable development and a divestment from fossil fuels.  My local Quaker Meeting in Pickering wrote a letter to the papers, although the local papers have not printed it so far. It was printed in the Yorkshire Post and the York Press.

In addition our Area Meeting (the collection of meetings in the area) have published a statement on their view on fracking. I copy it below for information.

Statement by Pickering & Hull Area Quaker Meeting

Following the decision by North Yorkshire County Council to allow fracking at Kirby Misperton we wish to make a statement on behalf of Pickering and Hull Area Quaker Meeting (representing Quakers in Ryedale, the Yorkshire Coast and East Yorkshire), emphasising our objections, on the basis of our spiritual discernment, to fracking on any scale.

Most fossil fuels need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. The impact of climate change globally is understood to be the greatest threat facing our generation, and our children’s generation. It is widely recognised that we need to reduce and eventually eliminate our dependence on the use of fossil fuels and that we urgently need to turn to renewable sources of energy which do not contribute to increasing damage caused by human induced climate change.

We believe that the search for new fossil fuels and new methods of extracting fossil fuels is incompatible with the responsible use of the earth’s resources. In 2011 Quakers in Britain made a corporate commitment to become a low-carbon, sustainable community. Local Quakers support this commitment through our management of our meeting houses, our choice of suppliers of goods and services, and in our personal, daily lives. For example, we have invested in sustainable energy with solar panels at Scarborough Meeting House and an air-source heat pump at Pickering Meeting House. The refurbishment of our retreat centre, Worfolk cottage, created the first fully ‘carbon- neutral’ development within the North York Moors National Park

We believe that all people have the right to affordable energy that does not harm the planet. Lack of current technology to support this goal should drive us to greater effort, not endorse technologies which increase the damage confronting us.

We believe in sustaining life before profit. Quakers are not opposed to business, but we are committed to ethical business decision-making and strongly urge companies to adopt best practice in considering the full social impact of their activities.

As Quakers we believe that we do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. We seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world and work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life.

Signed on behalf of Pickering & Hull Area Quaker Meeting

Phyllis Wicks, Heather Woolley, co-clerks

Further information:

Pickering and Hull Area Quaker Meeting is the body to which Quakers in Ryedale and the East Coast of Yorkshire belong. Regular meetings for worship are held at Beverley, Hull, Kirkbymoorside, Malton, Pickering, Scarborough, and Whitby.

Quakers have been worshipping in the area since the 1650s.

Quakers in Britain – Sustainability

http://www.quaker.org.uk/our-work/sustainability

Links to Pickering Quakers statement in the press

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/features/readersletters/14550699.Quakers_dismayed_by_fracking_decision_in_Ryedale__letter_/

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/opinion/yp-letters-quaker-faith-urges-us-to-reduce-fossil-fuel-use-1-7961880

Links to previous news

http://www.gazetteherald.co.uk/news/10726781.New_heating_system_for_Pickering_s_Quaker_Meeting_House/

http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/local/green-cottage-in-line-for-award-1-1449766

http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/local/historical-quaker-home-goes-eco-friendly-1-1431480

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L is for Little Lights

Ocean of light

Occasionally I post about life as a British Quaker under the structure of the Quaker Alphabet Project 2014. I haven’t done so for a while and am in danger of falling behind schedule, so here is a post for the L of it.

There is a perception often quoted, not unreasonably as it turns out, that Quakers are a bit on the mature side. It’s true we have “Young Friends” who are pretty active. However, they remain sadly outnumbered by the Silver Horde, at least in my neck of the woods, and in keeping with many other religious congregations in this country. There was great excitement the other month when a bona fide young person of the teenage persuasion applied for membership of the Society. It was like getting a letter from Elvis c/o the Loch Ness Monster and delivered by a leprechaun riding a rainbow. What I mean to say is, it was a bit unusual and slightly thrilling.

Some years ago I was fortunate to be a member of a relatively large Quaker community with three (count them!) age groups for under-16s. It was not the usual experience of Quaker groups up and down the length of the land. Since moving Up North I am now a member of a small and chronologically-well-endowed group. Yet we do not despair at our reducing horizons because we now have two young people among us – a male toddler and a female school person. They bring their parents along about once a month and keep company with various members of the meeting who enjoy playing with toys and drawing pictures and singing songs while the parents snooze in the main meeting room. It’s an act of kindness really.

The best bit of all is when they join everyone for the last fifteen minutes of the meeting for worship. In Britain, Quakers usually hold silent meetings for worship (not having “programmed” services like, say, Anglican churches, with sermons and singing and standing up and sitting down all and repeating words out loud). The people present sit quietly, apart from the Rumbling of the Stomachs, and wait for ministry to find them. Most people think it is a bit odd, but nevertheless the end result is a usually a quiet room filled with slightly sleepy people who have been sitting for 45 minutes and are beginning to feel it.

Enter our Youngest and Brightest! We hear them clattering along the passageway, with their retainers encouraging them to be quiet by making lots of loud shushing noises. The children usually are making no real noise at all, but never mind. The door swings open and in comes the first child, beaming from ear to ear to see all the old folks grinning at him, and often reaching out hands to welcome him inside. Then his sister, a little more self-aware and so slightly shyer, comes in behind him, composed and clutching some treasured picture to share with us. It may go straight on the table in the middle so we all crane to see it, or she may wait until Notices are read out at the end and then wave it at us. Meanwhile her brother sings to himself or stumbles around from one arthritic knee to the next, smiling up at the faces and dribbling a little. Sometimes we dribble back. It depends on the medication.

Quakers are very fond of using the imagery of the Light Within or Inner Light to talk about their relationship with God. Nowadays we don’t generally describe ourselves as Jesus’ little sunbeams, just talk about Light in a more general, non-denominational way. Early Friends in the 17th century were more direct in their writings about God and Jesus, but still the imagery of Light was fundamental to much of their thinking.

I was under great temptations sometimes, and my inward sufferings were heavy; but I could find none to open my condition to but the Lord alone, unto whom I cried night and day. And I went back into Nottinghamshire, and there the Lord shewed me that the natures of those things which were hurtful without, were within in the hearts and minds of wicked men… And I cried to the Lord, saying, ‘Why should I be thus, seeing I was never addicted to commit those evils?’ And the Lord answered that it was needful I should have a sense of all conditions, how else should I speak to all conditions; and in this I saw the infinite love of God. I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. And in that also I saw the infinite love of God; and I had great openings.

George Fox, Journal, 1647

But when our children join us in meeting for worship they bring that infinite light and love with them and in abundance. It is a gift to us and one for which we are humbky thankful.

Namaste

K is for Kaiser Bill, Kitchener and Killing (and Conscientious Objection)

quaker alphabet project

Here we are again at the Quaker Alphabet. I have committed to posting 26 entries at least for each letter of the alphabet on my life as a Quaker in 2014. You can read other blogs in this project by going to the tab at the top of the page.

It’s taken me a while to get this post sorted out. I had quite a time thinking of a K. I toyed with Kinship, but bored myself writing it, so be grateful that that particular draft will not be seeing the light of your screen. I feel quite strongly about the Quaker Family but don’t seem to be able to express anything about it in less than mind-numblingly tedious terms. What else could I choose: kaleidoscopes, knitting, knights or knickers? I looked up the index of phrases in Quaker Faith and Practice for inspiration and found the only K was about Keeping the Meeting. I could cover that I suppose but probably rather less successfully than Kinship.

Then I suddenly remembered there is an anniversary of something this year which means that many people are focusing on Killing, although some are instead trying to focus on the alternative to that, by talking about Conscientious Objectors. A number of these people are, of course, Quakers, who have strong words to say about Peace and not fighting each other and finding more grown up ways to sort out differences.

The Quaker Peace testimony dates back to the beginnings of the Society, in the seventeenth century, and its first formal expression is usually associated with a lengthy document addressed to King Charles II following his Restoration. Entitled

“A DECLARATION FROM THE HARMLES & INNOCENT people of GOD, called QUAKERS, Against all Plotters and Fighters in the World”

a snappy title that rolls right off the tongue, it was delivered on 21 November 1660 and was intended to make clear that the king was not going to be at any risk from plots and insurgency against him by this particular group of religious reformers so would he stop banging them up in prison please.

Most memorably it includes the phrase

All bloody Principles & Practices … we do utterly deny, with all outward wars & strife, & fightings with outward Weapons, for any end or under any pretence whatsoever. And this is our Testimony to the whole world.

This phrase is frequently used as the short-hand for the testimony itself, and encapsulates a firm and unequivocal opposition to bearing arms. Life is rarely that straightforward of course.

Let us scroll forward through history to the early 20th century.

20,000 men were conscientious objectors in the 1914-18 war in Britain, following the implementation of conscription in March 1916. They included socialists, religious groups such as Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others with an ideological opposition to the war and its causes. The story of conscientious objection is told on the Peace Pledge Union website, so for more details please start there.

At the time of the 1660 Peace Testimony it was considered appropriate to wear a sword by default, if you were a gentleman, and so giving up swords was a contentious issue. Famously, William Penn is often quoted as advising his fellows to “wear it as long as thou canst”, meaning “until you feel unable to do so”. In a sense this was the dilemma facing Friends as the war in Europe loomed and then erupted. Friends played an active role in the protests against conscription, but I learned recently this was by no means a unanimous approach. A significant number were willing to serve in the armed forces; the Society was split in its views for and against the war. Some buckled on their metaphorical swords.

Other Friends established the Friends Ambulance Unit, being willing to serve in non-combatant roles. The FAU was a volunteer ambulance service, founded by members of the Society of Friends as a practical expression of the Quaker peace testimony. It operated from 1914 to 1919, 1939 to 1946 and 1946 to 1959 in 25 countries around the world, and its members were chiefly registered conscientious objectors.

Even this was viewed in some circles as tacitly supporting the war effort and so a third group opposed to supporting the war in any form served in prison or were executed.

Conscientious objection is more fully recognised now than in 1916, although not easily and certainly not universally. For myself I have never had to make the choice, and hope I never will, as to whether I accept military service or not. I would like to think I would be brave and stand firm but I don’t know and am now fortunately possessed of sufficient age probably never to have to decide. The Offspringses may yet have to make their choices.

Although I don’t agree philosophically with those who did wear their swords once more, nevertheless it pleases me that the Society of Friends was able to work out its differences around what is a fundamental principle of its belief system. Quakers can be a tricksy lot to get to grips with. As a former Bishop of Durham is quoted as saying “I wish Friends would preach what they practise.” We can be a bit vague at times and too often answer with “it depends…”. That is because we are Seekers of Truth not Purveyors, and, as we all know, the Truth can be complicated.

Namaste.

 

 

J is for Justified

Throughout the year I have committed to producing blog posts for each letter of the alphabet about Quakerism, in my case primarily my own experience and interpretation of being a Quaker rather than any piece of beautifully researched or well-read prose.

The Quaker Alphabet project has now reached J here in EBL Towers. In honour of this wonderful letter, I decided to write about Margaret Fell’s 1666 (or 1667) pamphlet arguing that women should be allowed to preach. You can read the full text of it here.

womens-speaking-justified

Margaret Fell was involved in founding the Religious Society of Friends through her work with George Fox and others. Her pamphlet setting out the view of women’s right to preach and speak in church was extremely influential. Quaker women were often literate, and indeed research into the lives of women of this period, such as by Antonia Fraser in “The Weaker Vessel“, may depend upon their journals for insights into people’s daily lives and routines of the period.

The role of women in the life of a religious community will differ from church to church. However, the Anglican Church (Church of England and its related churches around the world) and the Catholic Church are still struggling with the question, some 350 years after Margaret Fell summarised it. It’s not just Christian faiths either that are finding the question challenging.

Clearly I have my answer provided thanks to Margaret Fell, although I might use slightly different language, arguments and examples updated for a more modern audience; in retrospect that might be the wrong approach for churches still mired in historical and apparently antiquated mind-sets.

For me, and as I suspect for a number of other Quakers, the question of women’s speaking simply does not arise. Some years ago, when the Church of England was discussing appointing female ministers, I attended a workshop on feminism and spirituality. It was led by a woman who planned to become an Anglican priest if the vote was carried in favour of such appointments. She sat down with our group of Quaker women and gave a deep sigh and said, “I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be with a group of women who aren’t talking about female ordination!”

We all looked a bit bemused and admitted it was not something we really thought about.

“You don’t have priests…” she started.

“We are all priests,” someone corrected her gently.

And that is the way of it; without a recognised and separate clergy, we all have the responsibility and the opportunity to be priests to and for one another. Essentially every individual has a direct relationship with the Divine and we learn and worship together as equals. Of course there may be barriers preventing people standing up in a meeting for worship and speaking the message they feel they have received. We also are all members of a wider society with its own rules and challenges.

I know and recognise that Quakers are not exempt from sexism (or any other -ism) in thought or word or deed. I know we are not perfect. It’s just that for me I have a community of seekers of the truth who are open to trying not be discriminatory to the best of their ability and in at least this area have done a fair job of it so far.

It’s so easy to slip into self-recrimination, and so I want to celebrate our commitment and value its longevity as well as appreciate and exult in more recent witness (around eg same sex relationships and marriage).

Namaste

 

I is for Introversion

As part of my 12 month mission, I am writing posts in approximately alphabetical order about what being a Quaker means to me. It’s part of the Quaker Alphabet Project 2014 and more information can be found over on this page about it.

This month I have made it as far as the letter I, which is brought to you by Introversion. Get me in my Big Bird outfit!

You see, my dears, I have a bit of a theory. It’s not a big theory, or even a well-considered one. It’s one born of the need to find a word beginning with I and the fact that I was reminding myself about Myers-Briggs indicators the other day. You might say it’s less of a theory and more of an early hypothesis.

Are Quakers predominantly Introverts?

I am, of course, referring to Quakers in the British or similar tradition of silent, unprogrammed worship. We sit still for an hour and wait to see if anyone feels they have a message to share. There is no priest or pastor or vicar or cleric (except that we all are priests in a way), and there is no programme of worship, just a willingness to sit down together and see what happens.

In Myers-Briggs one of the “preferences” (there are four in total) is Extraversion – Introversion. By completing a questionnaire you receive a score along the scale indicating which side you are on and how strongly.

EBL's introversion score

As you will see, it turns out I am fairly introverted.

The extraversion – introversion scale measures where a person prefers to focus their attention and where they get a boost to their energy. So in this case, it would imply that:

  • I am drawn to my inner world
    • This is true. I enjoy mental challenges: crosswords, quizzes, meditation, academic work, genealogy, writing and reading about Ideas. It’s one reason I like science fiction as well as science.
  • I prefer to communicate in writing
    • I would certainly rather email than pick up the phone, also I blog a bit.
  • I work out ideas by reflection
    • I mull things over and let a conclusion arise, I expect my team to be psychic because it’s all going on in my head.
  • I focus in depth on my interests
    • I interpret this as obsessing over the minutiae of my hobbies rather than having a broader range of more general interests. I want to be an expert. Good enough is not good enough!
  • I am private and contained
    • Despite the fact I am sharing this with you, I blog under a pseudonym. I don’t mind if you work out who I am – I wouldn’t say anything here I would not say in public. I just prefer not to use my name because you don’t need to know it.
  • I take the initiative when a situation or issue is important to me
    • Do I wade in and interfere when I think it’s needed? Why yes I do.

It also indicates I restore my flagging energies by taking time out alone. Absolutely. I have to have time on my own, which is why I find regular meditation so helpful.

What it does not mean is that I am shy (although I am in some social situations – at work I am completely the opposite of shy).

So, EBL, what is this to do with Quakerism?

I’m glad you asked, dear reader. It’s because of the silent worship.

You see, those of us who take time out to participate in it tend to say we find it refreshing, restorative, energising. We think of it as the time we recharge batteries, mull over issues, get back in touch with our inner light.

I invite you to look back at the definition of Introversion. I see a link, and I wonder if you do too?

Well, what does that mean? Why does it matter? It’s because only half of the population at most fall onto the Introversion side of the scale. Obviously the rest are extraverts. I suspect they would always struggle with silent meetings for worship, no matter how spiritual they are as individuals.

Don’t forget the scale is a sliding one, so someone in the middle would not be strongly inclined one way or the other; it will be a normal distribution curve. However, a significant proportion of the population is unlikely to find silent meetings for worship as strengthening as we firm Introverts do.

Does this mean Quakerism is not for them? Well, that’s kind of up to us, isn’t it? If all we do is based on silence and reflection, then we will only attract and keep clear introverts. Our community will be biased. If we choose to engage in a range of activities, events and opportunities which satisfy all tastes and preferences, then we can be more balanced and whole by including everyone. We often debate in our meetings how to include children, young people, and so on. Perhaps we should redefine what we mean by inclusion and who we think we are failing to nurture.

Just a thought, dear Friends. I would be interested in your views. (Although perhaps we don’t need to debate MBTI in detail …I have used it as a starting point only!) For all I know there is a Woodbrooke programme for just this kind of thing.

Namaste.

 

H is for Honesty

In my ongoing mission to complete the Quaker Alphabet Blog Project in 2014 today I bring to you Honesty.

800px-Lunaria_annua_flowers

There is an old joke in Quaker circles that you always find Honesty in a Quaker garden. Give us a break – we’re not professional gag writers for the most part.

However, one of the attractions, and possibly also scary bits, of being a member of our small but beautifully-formed community is that we try to speak honestly in all our dealings. Naturally we aren’t always good at it, and tie ourselves in knots trying to avoid being hurtful while keeping to the truth. A recent meeting was a good example.

I have mentioned in previous posts on this project that it can be quite demanding being a Friend, because there are so few people and so much work including managing our crumbling meeting houses, conforming to charity law and simply maintaining the day-to-day business of our worshipping groups. There are so many things to do that we have a rather esoteric process called “Nominations”. There is a committee, naturally, whose job it is to find people to do other jobs, from treasurer to conference goer. [As an “interesting” side note there are also Nominations Committees to appoint people to Nominations Committee and, in our geographical Area at least, a Search Group to find people to serve on Elders and Overseers, separate from the Nominations Committee, whom you might expect to be asked to do that. As it is, Area Nominations Committee has to find over 60 names a year to do all the things we want to do so the Search Group is intended to spread the load.]

Yesterday was Area Meeting, the time when we get together with folks from all the local worshipping groups in our geographical Area, to share, learn, celebrate and even do business. One of the items of business was Nominations, and how we can improve the process so it is clear to everyone. The current committee had asked us to think about treating their recommendations more thoughtfully, rather than rubber-stamping them, and to be ready to discuss a person’s suitability for a role.

Well, that was all well and good when we wanted to hear about how wonderful each other are. How many skills, how much experience, how long-standing and dedicated a commitment. But what about when someone felt obliged to stand up and say those fateful words “that name would not have occurred to me”? This dread phrase, or something like it, is the equivalent of “Good grief! Are you barking? You can’t let Gladys do Catering, not after the incident last year which resulted in several hospitalisations for listeria-induced comas and food poisoning!” Worse yet, the name may be for something even more sensitive than catering, such as Children’s arrangements or Safeguarding or Finance and Property.

Quakers seek to find the best in everyone, to recognise the Light within, and to accept the whole person, but we aren’t stupid. We also practise tough love and will face up to behaviours and actions which are hurtful, and will hold the person to account in a loving and supportive way. At least, at our best we do and the rest of the time we try to do so. It’s a thing I like, even though I like it a bit less when I am the recipient of that tough love. After a while I get over it and am grateful someone was caring and brave enough to tell me.

As a result we may have people among us whom you would never put in charge of certain functions, such as children or money, while still loving them as cherished members of the community. You might put the embezzler on Children’s Committee so long as they didn’t manage the budget for wax crayons and glitter sticks, but you would do it knowingly.

Here’s the rub. How much of a discussion should be expected in an open forum about why the worried Friend has stood up and uttered this phrase? You have to be sure and you have to be quite brave to do it; but you also have to be justified.

We want to be honest and open. We need to know if there is a reason someone should not be appointed, but only one or two people may be aware of that reason. In a meeting I used to belong to last century we had a rule that you could only be invited to help with children, not volunteer. It seemed best to introduce a rule before there was any issue about suitability, rather than make it up on the hoof. It didn’t stop anyone making known their willingness to help out, but it did give peace of mind to all concerned in a large group where not everyone knew everyone else well.

Back to our Area Meeting then. We sat and thought about it for quite some time, trying to discern the right way forward. We wanted to be able to raise concerns but there was a balance required between confidentiality and transparency.

I’m not saying we are geniuses in settling this old debate. In fact we fudged it quite a bit and agreed we would not expect to go into detail but would discuss the issue between the person raising it and the Nominations Committee. If the objection was over-ruled it would come back to next Area Meeting, unless there was a time constraint in which case the committee could make the decision. It’s a bit fuzzy. People may still be upset. We are in danger of making the process slower and more complex than necessary. For me the important thing is we faced up to it and talked it over and generally tried to work out what love required of us.

I think we were honest because we recognised that we need to be able to say that a candidate for a job is not right in a safe and supportive way. We need to be able to be able to have and deal with disagreements. We need to be honest about decisions and not just take the easiest path in the name of not hurting feelings. By setting an expectation that our decisions are not automatic, that we take them seriously, and that we will welcome challenges, we make honesty the norm.

I am reminded of a cartoon I saw recently, probably a meme. It was about someone being interviewed.

“Tell us what you think is your worst quality,” said the interviewer.

“Honesty.”

“I don’t think that’s a negative quality!”

“Honestly, I don’t care what you think.”

Namaste.

G is for Gathering

I don’t know about you, but I love the Highlander film (well, the first one anyway). It features hilariously unrecontructed macho posturing, pretty scenery, Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert, sword fighting action, ridiculous beheadings and music by Queen, leaving little if any room for a plot. That is my kind of film for a Saturday night! 

But EBL, the title of this post implies that it forms part of the Quaker Alphabet series! What have these things to do with quiet English people wearing odd hats and grey clothes? Or bleeding heart liberal tree-hugging hippies like yourself?

Well my dears, I’m glad you asked. It’s because there is some Quaker jargon which overlaps rather with the film itself, with amusing (although hardly hilarious, I’m sorry to say) consequences. It means that as a Highlander fan I have to try quite hard not to snort out loud when the phrase is perpetrated in a Quaker context.

The film refers repeatedly to the Gathering, the time when all the immortals come together and fight it out until only one is left. In my head this equates verbally with Quaker name for the sense of a meeting for worship in which the participants reach a sense of spiritual unity as part of their worship. No beheadings are enacted and no Quakers are harmed during this experience. In fact the opposite of the film’s Gathering is in fact the case. We are gathered and united by something greater than ourselves, rather than competing viciously and terminally for supremacy.

That’s more likely to happen over tea if insufficient biscuits have been provided, although in more genteel fashion than Messrs Lambert and Connery.

PresenceintheMidst

The Presence in the Midst, by J Doyle Penrose, 1916
Yes, we do still dress like this and yes,we are really Amish, and yes, it is true that Quakers never lie

The sense of a gathered meeting is really quite special and will not always happen in every meeting. In fact, it may not happen too often at all. However, it did occur in a recent meeting for worship in our little group, and it was a wonderful thing.

One minute you are sitting there, enjoying the peace and quiet, thinking about what to have for lunch, listening to the companionable rumble of stomachs nearby, and generally floating along without a care in the world. Or perhaps you are pondering deep and intellectual matters, perhaps you heard a news headline that was particularly troubling, or you are holding a friend in the Light by wishing them peace and strength and courage to face a problem you know they are encountering. You may be reviewing a conversation at work or watching the clouds scud past the high windows.

Then suddenly you are swept up into a sensation which I am struggling to find words to describe. It’s a little like those moments of transcendence described by the likes of Rogers or Maslow, but it happens within a group rather than to a lone individual. A term often used is “covering” and indeed it can feel like being swaddled or embraced or simply netted up like a fish. You are not alone; others in the group are there with you, and together you are in the presence of something greater than you as an individual. For a time, indeterminate and endless yet indescribably brief, you are stardust, golden. Without doubt it is a mystical experience, and is better described by Thomas Kelly, an American Quaker writer.

What I can tell you is that while I was there, no thoughts of allegedly immortal Scottish swordsmen crossed my mind. It was far more important than that.

Today I share my gratitude for that time with you.

Namaste.