We left Lochboisdale for Orasay this morning in a driving rain. We were hoping it would let up enough for us to continue our work, but once we arrived on site it was obvious we were in for a very wet day. It was decided we would tour the local South Uist museum and cultural heritage center, have some hot tea, and generally recover from the non-stop pace we’ve kept up since we left the United States.
At the same time, I didn’t feel much like working today given that last night around 11PM local time I received word that my Uncle had passed away. Uncle Steve was an amazing man and I loved him dearly. Thinking about his life and the positive impact he had on me, I began to consider all the other people I’ve lost and how each of them had given me some small part of their better selves to incorporate into my own life. I thought of my Father, Sister, Grandparents, Cousins, Aunts and Uncles, and oh so many friends I’ve lost along the way.
I thought of my friend and archaeological mentor, Dr. John Cottier, who left a huge void in my life when he passed away unexpectedly last summer. Just Tuesday I used a Suunto compass he gave me as a graduation present when I left Auburn. I carry it on every field trip, and I always think of him as I use it to orient myself in an unfamiliar place. His compass and the North Star are the two things I need to help me know where I am, what is truly important, and where I most need to be…
I encourage all of you to lift a glass in honor of my Uncle Steve and everyone you have lost who helped you find your own path through this world. May their souls forever be at peace.