The Bield - An Incarnational Space
After completing my week’s work at The Bield, I often reflect back on the different groups of guests who have been with us and on how the atmosphere and energy of the Bield itself expands or contracts to suit our visitors. Whether it is a large group like an NHS wellness day where NHS staff come to recharge and restore their bodies and minds or a smaller group of a few individuals coming for some quiet time, the Bield holds them all in a deeply incarnational way. Guests, new and old, talk about the sense of peace they feel when they turn off the main road and enter the driveway. So many visitors have described the Bield as ‘an oasis of calm’, ‘a little piece of Heaven’ and ‘a truly special place’.
As the summer moves on, the beautiful grounds are being well used. Large groups of guests take their lunches and dinners outside and sit on the new picnic benches, soaking up the warmth of the Perthshire sunshine, watching the blue tits flit about the old stone wall and disappear into the worn stone cracks to find insects.
Chapel services are held outside by the pond. Sometimes there are just two or three of us sitting together, at other times the circle of chairs is wide. We pause at the start of the morning service to listen to the sometimes overwhelming sound of birdsong or watch the red squirrels doing their acrobatics in the high trees around us. Evening services might include a much needed slow meander through the orchard labyrinth where the chickens, now released from their avian flu quarantine, happily lead the way to the willow centre.
The chapel art installation is changed as the Men's rites of passage starts this week and the stream of coloured sails which hang from the rafters is removed to leave only the three large willow boats carrying their cargo of rounded pebbles.
The walled garden greets each visitor with a heady, intoxicating scent of roses, vegetables and fruit. The Wednesday afternoon Capacitar sessions take place under the magnolia tree, with guests facing the sun and feeling the springy turf under their feet.
In the woods, the canopy is now dense and offers dappled shade from the heat of these past weeks. The Trail of Light art installation has now been removed although traces still remain of the path of sticks and the trail of ash and I still have a clear memory of the large circle chain suspended above the curling pond. The giant loom on the driveway bears the weaving of early Spring foliage, mementos of people’s meditations during Lent.
As I left this Friday night, music and chatter filled the evening air from the Barn Gallery where our Ukrainian artist friends were holding an exhibition of Dmytro Krishovsky’s work. Borscht and bread were being served as visitors looked at the powerful images of Ukrainian grandmas, potatoes, bread and Kalashnikov rifles wrapped in rushnyk embroidered cloths.
The Bield, as a place, holds all of this and holds each guest close and the staff, especially the very hard- working housekeeping, reception and gardening/grounds team contribute so much to ensuring that every visitor is made welcome and finds the shelter and rest they seek.
Oh, vibrant green stems of life sing out
Your praise to the Heart who draws you forth
Bird songs rejoicing in the breath of dawn
Warble your joy in the view of the morning star
Dew drops radiant upon the wetness of grass
Give glory to the Wise Creator who sustains you
Flower gardens, rushing streams, silent deserts
Sing,sing, for the Dance who rejoices in your midst
Peoples of the planet, creatures of the universe
Play before the Enlivener who delight in you
And my soul, my soul, rise up and greet this day
With gratitude in a stance of humble remembering
For all I am and all I am called to be, is held
In the hands of a Creator who daily loves me into life
(Magnificat to the God of Dawn - Joyce Rup)