BLESSING OF THE CAIRN by Rev Michael Scouler
Creation began with a word. But if only the land could speak, the hills explain, the rivers whisper, the flowers talk. If only.
Our relationship to the soil beneath us and by extension the landscape around us, is unfathomable and profound. The book of Genesis imaginatively sees us formed from the soil. If so, one way or another, our bodies undeniably return to it.
Created by God, the land is our own Alpha and Omega – a near eternal abiding companion, the stage and backdrop to our own brief appearance.
But it can be experienced as haunting as well as beautiful, as demanding as well as giving and as soulless as well as awesome.
The landscape has accommodated very few memorials such as this cairn, because very few can translate its stony silence into eloquence.
Very rare indeed are those individuals whose love of the land around them, so passionate and exuberant, is also gloriously matched by their capacity in words and composition to describe it: how it is, was and feels.
Will H Ogilvie was such a person.
Wherever he looked in the world around him, he saw stories begging to be told – of centuries past, of the cycles of life and seasons, of subjects, never mere objects.
And he beautifully gave them expression; through his pen the land spoke.
He was the lover describing their beloved. Only the coldest heart can not be drawn into his joy.
150 years on from his birth, I’m conscious of the gall that finds me using words to praise an artist of words. But thankfully we can set our admiration in stone, believing that 150 years from now, Ogilvie’s gift to the story of the Borders (and also the Bush) will still be remembered, recognised and proclaimed.
This cairn is a pointer for folk, now and in the future, that we, the land we live in, and the Word, are a timeless and tightly bound trinity. And never has it known in our Borderland a greater champion.
And therefore we dedicate and ask God’s blessing upon this cairn, a careful construct of skilful hands and creative minds, in grateful recognition of the contribution of William Henry Ogilvie in the past, and we trust, the future, to our appreciation of the land in which we live and of its enduring capacity to affect and to inspire.