Askernish is on the west coast of the island of South Uist, too small to be named on the map above. Yet here on the very western edge of Europe you will find the most unexpected and delightful golf course.

The history of this course is another story! The former American poet laureate, Billy Collins, has been a frequent visitor to South Uist and his poem testifies to his love of golf and his love of Askernish. He, as poets often do in their play with words, creates the word Askernishing. I offer this word to you today and ask you to somehow, someway, create some space in your day and in your soul to take in the very majesty and mystery of life and of place, and be busy for a moment “Askernishing.”

South Uist: Billy Collins

There’s plenty of reasons to come here.
The salmon’s as good as the drinks.
Some like the whisky, some like the beer,
but I’m happiest when out on the links.
It’s fine to be a student of genealogy,
busy tracing your family’s course.
But the only ghost I need for company,
is the ghost of Old Tom Morris.
The hikers come for the air and the sights,
and the anglers are here for the fishing.
But nothing is better under blue skies, than when I’m Askernishing.

Holy God we pause and pay attention to you and to ourselves.
We celebrate life’s exuberant abundance
and its dazzling diversity.
Be around us, among us, and within us.
Awaken our souls to the sound of your whisper
Gently lead us onward out into your future.
Gracious God, we pray not only for ourselves but
for all who have forgotten to pray, who don’t pray, or who refuse to pray.
Might the beauty and surprise of life teach us all how and what to pray. 
We pray for all nations of our world, for all peoples, and especially
for those who feel stateless, homeless, lost, or ignored.
Grant us all to be the best we can be at being human,
and as we try, make us in our trying holy, as you are Holy.
Hear our prayers O loving, and patient God, hear the prayers from our lips
and from the beat of our heart. 
Lord God grant us strength,
and grace us with wisdom,
to keep the faith,
by giving it away,
again and again.

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