Dec 27, 2009

The Road Goes Ever On and On

Part of my preparation for the Camino (less than two weeks away now!!) has been reading what others have written about their experiences.  One theme which I've noticed is a nostalgia for the journey, but also the sense that walking along the Way continues even after one has reached Santiago de Compostela. 
 
This provides a good context for sharing a poem from my favourite work of prose fiction.  (Yeah, the recommendation would seem stronger without the qualifiers, but there you have it.) 


 
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Earlier I wrote something about the Way of the Pilgrim.  What I didn't include was a discussion about where I hope to wind up after this.  Yes, I've made some plans which may turn into a career, but I've done that before.  "And whither then?  I cannot say."

One of the few things of which I am certain is that the Way will only unfold before me to the extent that I am walking forward.  Pilgrimage is not something which one does once, adds to the list of tasks accomplished, and then forgets about.  Pilgrimage is a way of being in the world.  It is an acknowledgement that no matter how good the present moment is, it is nothing more than a way-station, a temporary stop along the way.  (For the curious amongst my readers, I heartily recommend perusing Leaf by Niggle.  If you aren't able to purchase a copy or borrow one from a library, it is available here.)

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