Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mindful- by Mary Oliver

The first day on the Meseta- lush and green and beautiful
not at all what I had been expecting!

'Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?'

~from 'Mindful'
by Mary Oliver 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Woyaya- We will get there

Home-made sign seen soon after Arzacq-Arraziguet

"We will get there
Heaven knows how we will get there
We know we will
It will be hard we know
And the road will be muddy and rough
But we'll get there

 Heaven knows how we will get there
We know we will."


Along the way at times, especially in France,
you would see home-made 
signs, or seats, or shelters, or food/drink stops
for pilgrims.
Always, it was great for morale,
a sign that others were thinking of you, encouraging you along the Chemin. 
Always, a little 'thank you' prayer went up...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pilgrims on a journey

  Ultreia Gîte, Moissac:- Hosts: Rom and Aideen

"We are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through"

Rom and Aideen have moved from their homeland of Ireland
to serve the needs of pilgrims on the route to Compostela.
This gîte is their home
where they offer warm hospitality
and genuine care for pilgrims. 
I count them as friends, and hope to return to visit them one day.

There are several moving verses in this song,
but I chose the one about laughter and tears 
as they are two things I think most pilgrims come to know well....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peace- in the present moment

seen soon after leaving St Côme d'Olt
while walking along a peaceful road near the River Lot

"Peace is present right here and now, 
in ourselves and in everything we do and see. 
Every breath we take, every step we take, 
can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. 
The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. 
We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
"Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life"

Monday, September 6, 2010


 sign on the door of Red Cross Clinic for pilgrims, Estella 

"Compassion is a verb." 
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Estella is reached within a few days walk after leaving Roncesvalles, 
and for some who started, perhaps too quickly,
there has been time for bodies and feet to lay complaints about the treatment meted out.
Some 'veteran' pilgrims also have bodies that are in need of some tenderness 
with the Pyrenees safely crossed behind them.

I know two people who visited this Red Cross Clinic
run by volunteers for pilgrims.
They -one 'newbie' and one 'veteran'- found it a haven of kindness,
with soft music, and tender, gentle care,
a safe place for tears.

People who show compassion
are treasures in this world.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lead me to your holy mountain

on the Route Napoleon, heading towards the pass over the Pyrenees

Send out your light and your truth, 
Let these be my guide, 
 to lead me to your holy mountain  
and to the place where you live.  
Then I shall go to the altar of God, 
 to the God of my joy,  
I shall rejoice.

Ps 43: 3-4