Whenever I return from a visit to the mainland I bring the echoes back with me. They linger for a day or so, sometimes more, depending on the event, and then they scatter away like dust in the wind. I hear voices, comments and parts of conversations. I smile again at shared laughter, wonder again at a vision of loveliness in shiny hot pants (that’s shorts to you young innocents) with animal print leggings underneath and a summery frou frou topping through the skinny layers of which glows a Glasgow Tan and a million purple goose bumps, all rising valiantly to greet a wind from Siberia.I remember random acts of kindness, such as the woman who offered me one of her fruit pastilles on the train and I wince again at an act of cruelty, a side-swiping kick against the naked shins of a hooded beggar who shivered in the shade of the cold station steps. I sit again in the recording booth at BBC Glasgow, awaiting my turn to be interview for Woman’s Hour and remember the taste of my cooling coffee and the strangeness of talking into a microphone that has caught my voice, my responses to the questions Jane Garvey asked of me, and of the equipment somewhere that holds my words captive until Monday, May 27th at 10am, when they spill out into many homes in many parts of the land. I hear again the dominant voices of a group of young, clean cut Americans on the journey home. I thought, at first, I can’t sit here for 3 hours with those loud Southern accents interrupting my reveries, but I did stay and I did watch the dynamic between them and saw that they were just excited kids on a wild adventure. Where are you going to? I asked one girl. ‘Oh, she said, Mull……..we’re staying in the cottages.’I smiled. There are hundreds of cottages, and the island is a long stretch on foot without an address. She looked a bit crestfallen at that.I am sure someone knows where you’re going. I said.As I drove Miss Daisy away, I saw them all huddled in the spot where a bus would have been had the ferry not been so lengthily delayed. And I wonder about the impact we have on each other, whether knowingly or otherwise, and whether that impact takes us off a different path, or if it leaves us untouched and staying just the same as before. I can only speak for myself, and yet that hardly seems enough, or even adequate in an ever-changing world. But each encounter, each time I notice something or someone, a little act of awakening sparks inside of me. This spark, once settled, can become a part of me, not as I am now, but as the woman I aspire to be. The trick is to notice, to be aware, to be awake.