Thinking about people.
A couple of days ago I was wondering who has walked this path before me, and today it was more about people who are with me now. With me here, I mean, and also with me 'in life'.
We come across a number of St Cuthbert's Way walkers as the days go on, not just once but again and again. Unsurprising: we are after all doing the same classic route in the same classic time frame. There is Quintin from last night's bunkhouse, and Cath, or a couple who have leapfrogged us en route for three days already, and we them, whose names we haven't yet asked; or the two ladies at the Coop buying tomorrow's lunch who barely make eye contact even though we have seen each other at least four times in two days. And, as when I met the snail on Day 12, I wonder what stories and burdens these fellow travellers carry as they walk. If only there were time to ask them and find out.
During the first lockdown, I started a zoom meditation group,"The Noon Meditation Room", which daily hosts 20 minutes of shared silence. Today, unusually, there was enough signal on the hillside to be able to log in and join the group. How special it is for me to be accompanied over these many weeks and months by these lovely people, most of whom don't know each other from any other context than the silent prayer/meditation of the group. Having a connection out of a shared experience is special indeed, and I love "that we belong, and that we need each other" (taken from the shared introduction to the meditation). It's true. It really is.
And there's my family, who matter so much, whether closely or distantly related, and in close or distant contact.
And my friends, faithful, loving women and men of all ages, who love me and help me be me.
Colleagues, clients, students. Neighbours. Acquaintances.
The worlds I inhabit, full to brimming with privilege-relationships.
I notice how seldom I notice how much you all mean to me, and why, but today you were on my mind, in my heart.
Thinking about people. Thankful for people.
Throughout this pilgrimage we have walked alongside these beautiful dry stone walls. Can you imagine the scale of investment of men's lives in creating so many many many miles of boundary demarcation and protection, throughout the breadth and length of the land? Today's lunch break was in the lee of this portion of wall, thank you very much, and I particularly like how irregular the build is, with large and small stones piled together. Perhaps a metaphor for all the people I've been musing on; those before us, those with us, and those after us?
God bless us all