With two more days of walking to go this pilgrim’s progress is consistent and steady. There are ups and there are downs – the road’s most reliable lesson. The topography tells us the last day is all up before we arrive into the square, even though the Cathedral will rise in the distance ahead of us. There is a longing to get to the end and an unwillingness to go on – another reliable and already learnt lesson from the road.
There are new lessons for pilgrims and many firsts for some of my travelling companions. But for all of us each day, indeed each moment is a first. The dawn arrives and the day before remains undigested and I long for more space on the page, more breaths between notes, more time to rest and recover, more time to drink in the beauty. I have so much and yet I want more! Mostly I want more time. Like a student who yearns for an extension to submit an essay that will never be granted, I make up ways I can bargain with the day to see if I can eek out more from my body and the time needed to arrive at the day’s destination. Whether I can squeeze out more or not is irrelevant – my date with that destiny remains. A destination is a place where you are sent. Like all pilgrims, I am being propelled forward and I am holding on tightly to an invisible cord pulling me forward. It feels like heavy ropes of a boat being pulled into port by strapping MUA workers, singing a song of liberation from enslavement. They are all needed to drag me into the dock as there is so little left in the tank, I can’t do it alone.
This morning I am recalling David Whyte’s poem What to Remember when Waking.
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?
— David Whyte
The shape I make is bent over and moving slowly. My plan is full of ambition with still nearly 50kms to go. My inheritance is in this landscape with the celts turning up around every corner, in the clouds and on the tables, under the lintels and fixed onto buildings in stone, wood and textiles. Living wholeheartedly is the enough and the invitation to live with an open heart continues to be laid out in front of me and the new dawn is expansive. While my body is worried about these days ahead trudging through more rain, more ups than downs; the very idea that uphill is an ascent, an invitation to rise and keep rising is an aspiration to resurrection to hold in my heart as I take these last days to walk into Santiago. The cost of resurrection is the body being spent. Sparks will fly when the stone is rolled away.