Friday, February 25, 2011

With respect

 cross seen in countryside on first day's walk out from Le-Puy-en-Velay

"Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? 
Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief "
~William Blake

With sadness, thinking of those who died in the Christchurch earthquake
February 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Instruct ourselves... in joy...

en route for Aumont-Aubrac

               "It is what I was born for - 
                      to look, to listen,

to lose myself
    inside this soft world -
              to instruct myself
                     over and over

in joy
   and acclamation.
      Nor am I talking
          about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
    the very extravagant -
       but of the ordinary,
           the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations."

~Mary Oliver
from the poem, 'Mindful'

It seemed like quite a long day from Les Faux to Aumont-Aubrac,
and when I checked my e-mail for the first time since leaving Paris
there was some sad, hard news about a family at home.

But even though it seemed like a bit of a dull, even difficult day,
the sun still came out 
to leave the shadow of this tree on the ground
a quiet bit of joy to notice.

Monday, February 7, 2011


trees with spring leaves, seen when approaching Figeac

"I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
     as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
    shining coil of wind,
    or a few leaves from any old tree-
        they are all in this too."

~Mary Oliver
in the poem 'Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?'

One of the lasting legacies of the Camino for me has been this looking:-
 looking and noticing details in the world outdoors around me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sacred Ground

nearing the Orisson gite on a flatter section of the climb over the Pyrenees

'Any place is sacred ground, 
for it can become a place of encounter with the Divine Presence.'

"These words from Br. David Steindl-Rast, appeared on the 'Word for the Day' on the website on New Year's Day this year. Wonderful words for the beginning of the year, they reminded me that I can stand on sacred ground and meet God anywhere.
When I am aware of God's presence, I am not only filled with gratitude, but I learn to treat others with reverence and respect."

~John Dew         Archbishop of Wellington, New Zealand

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Simplicity, Patience, Compassion

Woman who had walked from Brittany, relaxing in Ostabat,
"I have just three things to teach: 
simplicity, patience, compassion. 
These three are your greatest treasures. 
Simple in actions and in thoughts, 
you return to the source of being. 
Patient with both friends and enemies, 
you accord with the way things are. 
Compassionate toward yourself, 
you reconcile all beings in the world."

(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 67)
This French woman who I met in Ostabat was persevering despite great pain in her feet. 
I never saw her again after SJPP where I took an extra rest day. I hope she made it to Santiago, either on this walk or at a later time. She had walked pretty much alone until Bordeaux when she had met a pair of women walking, one of whom was seriously sight-impaired. 
The three walked together, helping each other. They were an inspiration.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Solitary Walking

 arrow someone has made in stone at a crossroads in routes
heading for Astorga on the beautiful, less-peopled 'countryside' option from Hospital de Orbigo

"How many of us are completely at ease with our own thoughts, 
comfortably at home in our own minds and bodies?
I know I'm not always in this ideal state. 
Far from it. 
So solitary walking gives me the chance to explore a little 
the murky depths of my own mind, 
to clear some weeds from the muddy pool of my unconscious, 
to sort out my ideas and beliefs, 
to shine a little light into my soul, 
to reflect on God and the nature of life, death and the universe. 
And, with luck, to meet up with some interesting people, 
and enjoy a few beers with them along the Way..."

on his Solitary Walker blog

Robert has many reflections on walking you might want to check out,
as well as accounts of the varied walking journeys he has made.