Monday, January 31, 2011

Flowers of the Camino

Flowers seen beside the path nearing San Martin del Camino, 
after a long hot day's walk, mostly near highway, out of Leon.

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
—Henri Matisse
 Quote found on 'Picturing God' website

On my last night in Santiago I had a very special conversation 
with a Frenchman I had met a few times along the Camino.
He had always struck me as a prayerful, reflective man, full of wisdom,
who thought a lot about others. 
(I was surprised though to find him on the altar of the Cathedral in Santiago as a deacon!)

In our last conversation
he told me that I was 'une fleur du camino'
-a flower of the Camino. 
But he also gently said that a flower sometimes has to die to make a seed.

His words and his love have always remained within me.

A Long Walk

 Countryside near Saugues on the Le Puy route

"What on earth has happened to me 
in these 5 years since my first Camino? 
Then I simply decided to go for a long walk 
but of course I discovered as we all do 
that as well as the physical act of walking 
which is deeply meditative, 
the simplicity of the way of life, 
the friendship of strangers 
and the beauty of the countryside 
are actually a powerful spiritual brew."

Pilgrimage and Church

 Church in the village of Gaillac, as seen soon after leaving Cajarc

"Above all I suppose the experience opens my mind to God 
in ways which Church never does. 
Increasingly I’ve become bothered again by aspects of Church: 
by the lack of caring, the focus on power, 
the marginalisation of women inevitable in a male dominated organisation 
and the pompous self regard of many leaders. 
Now I find these feelings fading and taking on a new perspective. 
When I rage about it I want to take them all, Pope included, on pilgrimage. 
I realise I can only take myself."

~Johnnie Walker