stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

After the quest - the prize!

In the previous post of the finding of the well, I hinted that we had taken a certain detour on the way - to Aosdana (meaning “gifted people). This is a local concern, following a tradition of silversmithing on the island. Two lovely young craftswomen make wonderful jewellery in a small cottage.

I had bought a small silver pendant in the shape of St Columba’s coracle on a previous stay, and wanted a chain to match. I also wanted to find a new silver ring, as my original wedding ring (of pinkish Moroccan gold) was now thirty eight years old and far too small to wear.
My eye fell on a ring with a zoomorphic pattern of intertwined serpents. This is thought to represent renewal of life and rebirth, and a card said the interlacement it forms symbolised eternity as it is without beginning or end. It also has a boss with an equal-armed cross in a circle. A favourite symbol of mine. Just the thing!
I went across the tiny cottage room to be measured. I held my hand out, and was greeted with an outstretched ring sample that fitted exactly! The young girl sheepishly grinned at my astonishment – “it’s a knack”, she confessed. “I can tell someone’s ring size just by looking! It’s come with practice” What a good chat up line that could be, not that she needed it with her lovely Celtic looks and graceful calm manner.

Then we continued out and along the track to the base of Dun I on our quest, and upward to find the well.

A week or so later, and a lifetime away back in Dorset, a neatly wrapped parcel arrived – just as the email had it would. (The islanders were early champions of the internet.) The elegant black box with Aosdana in silver on the lid held my lovely ring.

And I smiled when I discovered that the well’s name - Tobar na h-Aoise - can also be translated as “the well of the people” aois-dana (the specially gifted people) It's the same name as the silversmiths!

I look at the ring on my finger and remember the serenity of Iona - the springy turf, the white strands stretching far to craggy rocks as old as time, and the seas of turquoise and purple.


At 12:19 am, Blogger David Barltrop said...

Does Moroccan gold shrink or has your finger grown in diameter with time?

That jewellry is beautiful, judging by the photos. So glad the story of your new ring wove into that of your walk.


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