Monday, November 29, 2010

Whisperings of grasses

 Rural countryside, en route for Lauzerte

"What I know in my bones 
is that I forgot to take time to remember what I know.  
The world is holy.  We are holy.  
  All life is holy.  
Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves,
the whisperings of grasses, 
the shimmering of leaves,"
~   Terry Tempest Williams

Thursday, November 25, 2010


 Landscape after Estella

"It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. 
You do not need a sixth sense for it. 
It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; 
you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. 
'I am watching you -- are you watching yourself in me?' 
Most travelers hurry too much...
the great thing is to try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, 
and not too much factual information. 
To tune in, without reverence, idly -- 
but with real inward attention. 
It is to be had for the feeling...
you can extract the essence of a place once you know how. 
If you just get as still as a needle, you'll be there."

~Lawrence Durrell (Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The dreamers

 Two Italian women having dinner in Triacastela
-two of the many wonderful dreamers I met along the way...

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. 
Always remember, you have within you 
the strength, the patience, and the passion 
to reach for the stars to change the world."
~Harriet Tubman

The direction of your dreams

 "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. 
Live the life you have imagined."
~Henry David Thoreau

Cruz de Ferro

Cruz de Ferro in the mist, on the mountains above Foncebadon
"The mountain remains unmoved 
at seeming defeat by the mist."
- Rabindranath Tagore

Some people prepare very well for their encounter with the Cruz de Ferro
carrying stones all along the way that they will place there
in atonement for their sins or for the intentions of others.
And for some, this is a significant place where they leave behind past guilts,
and drop their burdens on the stone pile below the cross.

But I wasn't among them.
Religiously, I was quite unmoved.
It was the mist that moved me
to both delight and annoyance
-it was so gloriously thick but there was no view!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Early Morning

In the countryside after Astorga- walking early- 
with the remnants of a thunderstorm still in the air
"I'll tell you how the sun rose a ribbon at a time."
~Emily Dickinson 

On warmer days in France and Spain 
I always preferred to start walking in the morning cool.
To walk as the world awoke to a new day 
was always a time of real joy for me
deep quiet joy.

And this particular morning I walked with my Quebec friends.
It had been an unbearably hot night,
until in the early hours, a loud thunderstorm began. 
We were glad to escape early, 
though nervous lest the storm return while we were in the open.
We were all excited, after so many days of 'flat' walking
to be heading for the mountains again, 
towards Rabanal del Camino... Foncebadon..... Cruz de Ferro...
places of mysterious names, 
all in the higher land that we couldn't wait to climb.

Changing Seasons

Leaving Montbonnet on Day 2 of the Chemin, with mid-April snow on the ground

"Each moment of the year has its own beauty
....a picture which was never before
and shall never be seen again."

Another h/t to George for the quote.

One of the greatest joys I found in the whole walk from Le Puy to Santiago
was the way I passed through the changing seasons as I walked. 
These first few days out of Le-Puy-en-Velay, mid-April
were bitterly cold at times
and twice, there was even snow- a novelty for a Kiwi lowland North Islander!

Monday, November 15, 2010

green tree and blue sky

En route for La Romieu 

"I thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of the trees,
and for the blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite, which is yes."
~e.e. cummings 

H/T to George for quote

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Real Maturity" and Cats

Real Cat seen in Auvillar

"Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. 
I feel like I've just got to bite a cat! 
I feel like if I don't bite a cat before sundown, I'll go crazy! 
But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. 
That's what is known as real maturity."

~Charles Schultz on prudence and temperance (as Snoopy in Peanuts)
H/T to Ironic Catholic for this quote 

I think that walking the Camino brings out some 'real maturity'
- when the going gets tough sometimes, you just gotta keep going-
Plus the Camino often has you rolling in laughter uncontrollably
with your Camino mates
-in a way that's not easily understood by anyone who hasn't walked the Camino-
So this humour from Snoopy belongs here rather well....
One of the sculptured cats of La Romieu - a town well worth the detour- don't miss it folks!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A doorway

A door in a ruined wall- in the Auvergne- on the first day out of Le-Puy-en-Velay

  "God enters by a private door into every individual."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

an archway- a beginning

 The archway that looks down on the beginning of the Chemin-

the path away from the Cathedral in Le-Puy-en-Velay


"It is for us to pray

not for tasks equal to our powers,

but for powers equal to our tasks,

to go forward with a great desire

forever beating at the door of our hearts

as we travel toward our distant goal."


~Helen Keller 


"Everyone" who leaves from Le Puy takes a photo of this archway

-you see almost identical photos in everyone's collections!

It marks a significant point- the start-

an exhilarating place, 

where so much is hoped for

and so much lies unknown in the future.