by Joanne Reimer

What I remember most from Callanish circles are the moments of connection, when words, music or the simple presence of another led me down a path to some unanticipated new understanding or changed perspective. 

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I remember Rose who came regularly to Callanish, yet seldom spoke in the circle. When she did, it was brief and poignant. Her presence brought memories of my mother, with her petite frame, quiet strength, brevity with words, and grace amid disappointment and sadness. My silent connection with Rose was a gift of sweet remembrance.  

I remember the many times the music at Callanish led to tears slowly dripping down my face. Sometimes, it was the melody. Sometimes, it was the words. Sometimes, I had no idea what chord had been struck in my heart. I have learned to simply let the tears come. 

I remember James with his incredible zest for words and concepts. He introduced me to the word “murmuration,” which describes a synchronous movement of a flock of birds in the air, with each bird influencing its closest neighbours. Sometimes I wonder whether these moments of connection are themselves like murmurations.

What sparks these moments? And what should we do when these moments come? While I cannot answer the first question, another memory answers the second. I recall an equinox gathering where someone read a poem by Rumi that I now revisit regularly. The poem was “The Guest House,” and one part goes like this:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

I am grateful for the comfort and the thoughtfulness that moments of connection inspire in me. They keep bringing me back to the Callanish community, and I have promised myself to entertain them all.


Joanne Reimer has been a program assistant at Callanish since 2012. She brings many years experience working in the healthcare system as a hospice consultant and researcher.