Making Meaning

This week has been very diferent for Wigtown. Instead of the usual Book Festival when the town has ten days of live events with authors talking about their latest publications, we’ve been seeing it all happen online.

This has had the advantage of being able to catch up with events that clashed with other appointments or that we had missed but then heard enthusiastic reports from others, making us decide it was one we must listen to after all.

It’s possible to see the whole programme of events and watch them wherever you are if you look for the Book Festival website –

The festival started on Thursday 24th September and continues until this coming Sunday. One memorable event was with Richard Holloway discussing his book Stories We tell Ourselves with the subtitle Making Meaning in a Meaningless Universe. I think that there are millions of folk trying to make meaning out of the world where so many aspects of life are causing us to wonder just when life will revert to being more sane.

In his latest book, Richard Holloway shares his search for meaning and quotes poets, philosophers,scientists and fictional characters. It truly is an exceptional, thought provoking and at the same time reassuring read.

His talk was one that we had to catch up on the next day because on Sunday morning at 11.00 – the time for his event, we were attemting to climb The Merrick . This is the highest of our Galloway hills – just short of three thousand feet. It has been some time since we last reached the summit and we decided that it was time to see if we were still capable of doing it again.

The last time we were there we met just four other people. On Sunday there must have seen about fifty in the eight hours we were walking. I should rephrase that as we had a number of stops to rest and refuel – coffee, first lunch, second lunch, mid-afternoon break – very hobbit like!

It seems that people of all ages are now needing to get out into the fresh air more, get up into the hills and just appreciate the beauty and serenity of such an environment. Standing on top of a mountain or hill with a panoramic view over lochs, beautiful countryside and beyond to the sea, it helps to get things into perspective. It helps to feel at one with the natural environment, to get away from the uncertainty that seems to prevail in life at the moment. We search for meaning in a meaningless universe and somehow it’s easier to find peace of mind up in the wide open spaces of mountainous countryside.