Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Struggling up a mighty hill

climb towards Cenves- 5km uphill- beginning soon after leaving Tramayes (Cluny route)

 "I realised one day walking along that I was made to enjoy THIS. This is a lot of things, 
even struggling up a mighty hill with a backpack, 
and I felt really grateful to be alive. 
I have also changed a lot of the things I believe, 
but that is for another time."

~Graham English
Catholica website

I had been warned about the difficulty of the climb towards Cenves, and it certainly started out looking tricky, with the 'path' looking more like the bed of a stream to begin with. But that old maxim, 'one step at a time' proved true yet again.

Stone walls

stone wall seen between Cluny and Tramayes
 Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed. — Mary Oliver

I always love coming upon stone walls. I guess that in some way they hark back to the Celtic past of my ancestors. The stones used in this modern French wall may be of more recent origin, but it is also possible the stones themselves have been used before. And when I see flowers blooming against the 'barren' stones, it is always a source of happiness for me.

Walking with a friend

 "The world is round
so that friendship may encircle it."
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

When I walked the Cluny route in 2012, the first two days I had company along the way. A French friend who I had met on the Camino in Spain in 2008, offered to walk with me. Cluny was in his home region of Bourgogne, and he wanted to be sure I knew how to follow the waymarks. The important markers on this route were scallop shells, and the 'fingers' of the shell showed which way you had to walk.

He had told me that I would find the Cluny route far more lonesome than the route south from Le Puy- and he was right. I treasure the time we spent walking together. He taught me many things as we walked, such as how to recognise church tower windows that indicated a church affiliated with the monastery of Cluny, and the names of wildflowers we passed. It was a precious time.