Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On an unknown road

 Somewhere after Navarrenx, in the Basque country, nearing the Pyrenees

"I’d rather be stumbling along an unknown road
than safely cooped up in even the nicest cul-de-sac"

I loved walking down this wet path, under the shelter of trees dripping with the rain. It was refreshing and enlivening. And flat and easy- which was not to be the case on the chemin later in the day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Love changes everything

Françoise and Roger on the plateau above Cahors on a very hot day

Love changes everything:
Hands and faces,
Earth and sky,
Love changes everything:
How you live and
How you die"

~Andrew Lloyd Webber
(see the whole song YouTube)

This was a day when I had a lot of contact with Françoise and Roger, and they turned out to be guardian angels. I had met them the previous evening in the convent at Vaylats where we shared the evening meal together. After lunch this day, I ran out of water in the unexpected heat. Somehow or other it seems that we met a local who discovered we were low on water... he returned and gave my angels some water. They ran in the heat to catch up to me to share the water...cold fresh water.... Their kindness in giving me the water was every bit as restorative as the water itself. 

I never saw Françoise and Roger again after this act of kindness: I would love to know how they got on, and if they reached Santiago... 

Monday, July 25, 2011

How can you explain?

 On the plateau above Le-Puy-en-Velay - on the first day of walking

"How can you explain that you need to know that the trees are still there, 
and the hills and the sky?  
Anyone knows they are.  
How can you say it is time your pulse responded to another rhythm, 
the rhythm of the day and the season 
instead of the hour and the minute?  
No, you cannot explain.  So you walk."

~Author unknown, from New York Times editorial, "The Walk," 25 October 1967

It was something very special, the frisson of joy that I knew as I walked into the countryside at the top of the climb out of Le Puy. All going well, I was embarking on something that would let me be a walker in the outdoors for weeks and weeks to come. 
I have just returned home from a Camino gathering in Hamilton: how good it was to be with a group of people who had also walked, and who understood, who didn't need an explanation about 'why' you would do such a thing...