COAST TO COAST
The brilliance of a ‘shared’ walk across England (Coast to Coast/August 22-September 14th, 2017), remains like a golden nugget tucked within the heart of a mountain and the valleys of my being’s terrain.
Months ago, I and a fellow Sojourner, traversed this stimulating landscape. In words, I attempted to capture the daily encounters…the ‘ones’ putting flesh on my soul.
The memories now in the mansions of my dwelling—they are golden gems. For the next twenty one Mondays I will share some ‘light’ that radiated from the pages of my journal and snapshots that captured my heart.
Welcome to C2C…
A Path Shared…(A Journal) Coast to Coast (C2C)
The date: August 22, 2017
“I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower,
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?”
~Ranier Maria Rilke~
Yesterday, the day before departing for a journey, a trek, the circle of the sun was overshadowed by the moon. (An eclipse) The landscape’s horizon grew dim, the birds flew without a song—sparrows dipped in the earth causing the dust to rise and coat their feathers.
Metaphorically, the shadow became my friend who departed her tiny tent of a being on August 12th. In my arms, she drew her last breath and I breathed part of her within me—
I felt her in the shadow—emblazoned in the sun…she has become sun, clouds, dusk and dawn~~~she is ALIVE in all things and as I write it is NOT metaphorical—her ‘BEING’ is in everything and the Divine paints itself in this grief~~~my heart broken and so full of life. I write upon a blank canvas. Yes, these words which, perhaps, make no sense still flow as I sit within a cage waiting for the gate to open. I will fly across a pond…a light glowing in the distance. The light circles revealing its fullness and welcoming the shadows as they pass in between the brilliance of light uncharted.
So, just who am I?
Am I a falcon, a storm or a great song? Maybe I’m something completely other than these three BEINGS or maybe a part of me IS the falcon~~~wings in flight, carried by the storm swirling in my soul AND the song unfolding revealing who I AM as I walk a path—A trail called Coast to Coast (C2C) and this time I walk with a companion, a soul friend whose voice is solace, whose presence is gift, whose story writes itself in between the pages of my life. Will we ever be the same? I think NOT. How can one be if one enters into the fullness of a journey yet unseen, but already begun?
So many questions impregnate my hollowed dwelling~~~ the questions echo within the chambers of my heart…they crackle through the cage of my ribs, they plunge into the blood running through my veins. Answers no longer suffice—all I’ve been taught, studied, believed in…GOOD—but, no longer carry the relevance they once held. I’m fine…perhaps, more than fine, in all UNKNOWING…no more pretending everything makes sense! Sense is not what I seek. Instead, what I seek—the ability to LIVE each day grasping life’s lessons~~~ allowing me to awaken, inspiring me to see that the wheat and the weeds within the garden of my life grow purposefully. The wheat lives in me, the weeds live in me and they dwell together. When the harvest of my life comes, I pray I see the wheat & weeds as anything but separate…their roots allow me to hold to the grounds of life.
I carry so many persons on this passage. The weight of my backpack—not heavy. The more I remember as I make my way, the more I trust the lightness of my steps. Together, my friend and I will be led…heaven knows it is how we are here—NOW! It has BEGUN.
Journal/Coast to Coast—Day 2
Date: August 23rd Arrival in St Bees Time kept ticking—flying through the night…hours passed—the minutes thread themselves into seconds and on August 23rd, 2017 our descent was made into London.
A distance from our immediate view, Big Ben stood erect~~~a time piece echoing the hours until NOW. The clanging bell (for a first time) STOPPED…moments seem lifeless. But, am I more ALIVE in its present-present not ‘clanging’ to time?
I have toyed with this piece…this piece of time—dictating when we should arrive, what time to begin. Time, time, time does not mark the beats of my heart.
My gaze holds the changing patterns before my eyes…my lids wish to close, but a train (the train I am on) slips its way through the green misty country side. Sheep graze in the fields, bright luminous purple flora laces itself in the grasses. Small shafts of light break the clouds for a splinter of a moment AND, at this ‘time,’ I am held in silence. So many, the scenes of my life, flash in front of me directing me to where I am and preparing me and my kindred companion for St. Bees and the Indian Sea. Our first steps will begin on Friday—tomorrow, not yet come and like time unheard, I will not rush to fill in the lines waiting to be written. I will allow the clanging/ceaseless bell in the capsule of THIS temple—time to rest.
Like Ben, I’ll refrain from making any sound and hear the song whose notes make NO sound yet carry a vibration guiding a way that will be followed in a path charted, often unmarked, destined with unfamiliarity yet welcoming us home.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 3
Date: August 24th, 2017
THIS day…I Raise my head—
AND am filled with Blessings…
One extraordinary kaleidoscope of hidden treasures bursts open the ‘chest’ tucked in every corner of a terrain etched out~~~
An invitation heralds like a letter addressed—“this might be the way you follow.” This after this gentle ‘prophet’ prepared a banquet, holy communion, to sustain my companion and me on the path unplanned this day.
We set out to complete the loop~~~a seven mile stretch began at the marker C2C— #000. Before our arrival at the Irish Sea, we spotted a messenger, St Bega a young girl who at age 12—ran away from home. Her father, a king, but she would not subject herself to an arranged marriage. She sailed away arriving here, living as a hermit. Already I AM ‘captured,’ and set free in this place. She left her ring band behind~~~she lived her life doing good things for people. She held a vision~~~
the mother presenting her the Christ child and she sought to create a nunnery. We entered the priory—we entered the garden…we beheld The Mother, her children all around her and in her arms a little one rested. I experienced deep peace and I heard a voice—a woman entered the garden and said, “You can enter the church~~~it is beautiful.” Steps led to the west entrance. It was like passing through a halo..
Inside…the kaleidoscope danced in every direction~~~symbols painted, quilted, etched, carved~~~my eyes bounced in between. Tears held within washed me in mystery beyond words. I was wrapped in the ARMS of the Mother…and in the arms of ALL the significant women in my life~~~alive today and those who have made their way. They filled my spirit NOW birthing a joy bursting as if from a cocoon. My wings—drying as they prepared for flight.
Just then—Mary arrived. Mary~~~the keeper of the plants swayed into the Chapel extending “Welcome”~~~offering invitations for sweet communion. She revealed herself, her lovely weavings adorn the altar AND the simplicity of her Christ presence filled the room…
She was love.
The kaleidoscope of her being set us off in the direction of the sea…our boots blessed in the roaring waves as they raced to the shore…stones gathered to carry us to Robin Hood’s Bay~~~ our ending. We’ve begun, BUT truly will our ending BECOME, once again, a beginning?
Our soles kissed the trail…a union grounded in ‘being.’ Here the kaleidoscope exploded~~~colors deep beneath the surface pushed through creating an endless green comforter. To our left, a comforter of blue in an array of hues sparkled in the sun until soft drops of rain dabbed the canvas beneath our feet.
A light house greeted us as we made our ascent…its very ‘presence’ lifted us, our steps renewed and we walked as if we were in flight…were we flying? We slid along the cliff sides. In silent wonder, we held the sounds of the surf countless feet below. Yellow fields of wheat to our right~~~liquid gold. In my mind’s eye, I leaped plunging into a sea of grains~~~their seeds…the life they shall offer I AM fed and, though it is not a food consumed, I am filled with nature’s nurturing, life-giving resurrection encounters.
Making our way off the trail, we turned back for St Bees…a train track running parallel to our left side. We walked amongst sheep, cattle, forest trees, tall grasses, wet bogs, and angels disguised as clouds. The sun began her descent as we made our way back to our ‘beginnings’—
I write, I whisper, “GOOD NIGHT.” I almost wish I could erase the line hoping THIS day would never end. We were asked to find the kissing gate. We never did, or did we? I feel like I have been kissed by Heaven and endlessly reminded—“SIMPLY RECEIVE!”
Journal/Coast to Coast—Day 4
Date: August 25th, 2017—St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
A Path Shared
hours trekked preparing—
cross training for a journey~~~
eyes unprepared for what the imagination can barley grasp. The steps holding fast—my breath learning how to keep a new tempo with sudden ascents, tiny steps grab onto quick descents.
My being captures the wind. I know THIS fierce freedom~~~my body like a mustang on a hill galloping and then carried. All the preparing~~~physically, mentally, emotionally…the pace set.
Prayer was/is the constant source…
a well from which I drink brings me here…
NOW, again, yet a first. Beside me another being…two steps~~~now four.
In oneness, a shared path we walk…our pace different and ‘we’ breathe holding each other’s steps.
A dance displayed~~~the ballroom of creation’s floor going off in unimaginable directions.
The music of silence
—a partridge jetting out from the tall grasses
—bogs swamping our boots
—the dribble of mud caked on our pants
—a pause at the river
feet plunged in, ‘another’ steps in with boots on…an exchange in this ballet…I hand over the map held in plastic to hold back the possibility of soaking rains.
I cross and then my companion prepares to do the same. In her doing so, the map or maps slip from her hand gently, slowly preparing to make their way down the stream. A pregnant pause…a rush to recover~~~they are recovered and soaked…a holy laughter ensues.
From here we climb, and climb, and climb~~~is there a summit?—NO!
Here it is—-NO!
A rock pile, cairns…a hill (Dent Hill) of remembrance. It begins to rain. We are literally in the clouds. The view through speckles of vapor~~~ stunning. Shadows, silhouettes are tucked between edges that would not—could not fold.
We walked amidst angels today from beginning to end. When we thought ourselves lost, we could not have been more found…AND, the dearest angel met today again and again and again—the friend beside me stepping, trusting, a willingness to open to this shared path.
Still, there are more than two pairs of footprints walking with us.
There are a set of ‘soles’ not asking us to follow but, THIS time, stepping in ours delighting ‘we’ believe, at least enough, that we will make our way.
Our ending~~~that will be a tale—
Perhaps, we will share—
Parts we will hold sacred—
One thing certain already…
We will never be the SAME.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 5
Date: August 26th, 2017—Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
A Needle & Thread
This day…my pen became a needle. The ‘blue’ ink became like thread in an attempt to quilt together words—Words that would ripple like the lake traversed…a passage of unknowing wonder. The needle of THIS pen moves in then out, up and then down. The paper NEVER is torn, but the stitching attempts to convey the patterns…a lake consumed ‘in’ mountains.
A shower softly painted the glass surface of THIS majestic pool. Clouds birthed shadows. The mountains not ONLY around us, but reflected in the water, pull the sky down opening a window for the sun to warm and ignite the dawn’s beginnings.
Every step…knit one, pearl two, knit one, pearl three.
I was in this lake, this mountain, these clouds, the sun’s rays, the seabirds skimming the plate of water, sparkling ripples…the needle in my hand runs from the page. How do I express the blanket knitted in my being?
The lake was a lacquer drenching me like a particle held in a clam’s shell or oyster.
Did I belong here? The terrain refused to cast me out…it continued pouring itself over me, through me, within me until I SAW in me the pearl~~~fashioned, chiseled, shaped by years~~~shining alongside everything else that is Nature’s Treasures…
The needle and thread finished?
Heaven’s, NO. The needle broke open my being…the landscape filled with purple heather pierced my heart. The climb—a thousand steps, if not more…rising, rising, rising. I could not stop…AND, I did not want to—
At the summit, the sky was whisked apart. The lakes, the mountains bowed in splendor…it was as if I heard them saying, “Thank you for finding yourself here.”
Ink poured on this page~~~a single strand of words…no-thing could adequately express what I have beheld THIS day. There are no tears in this seamless piece…there have been so many pauses. You may read my words wondering, “What is she trying to say?” Maybe, I do not really know—but, I know where I have set my soles…the ground lives inside me…something NEW breathes in me…
Knit One, pearl two, knit One, pearl three~~~truly we are NEVER finished.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 6
Date: August 27th, 2017/ Rosthwaite to Grasmere
I Have Not Forgotten You
The liturgy began. The entrance hymn sung by a host of sheep bellowing as they rushed to their mother’s nipples to ‘drink’…
This metaphor…my opening prayer…
“Feed me gentle Mother from the abundance of this earth’s substance.”
The procession was a soft blanket of green grasses, it changed into a stony pathway but the Gospel call was to “Come.” Here I pause…what will I write?
The pastor was the present pasture leading to far off never lands~~~
Yes, the pastor was ‘being’ itself…every living thing…a being~~~ a pastor proclaiming this liturgy ignited by the sun breaking open the clouds. Cows frolicked in the fields, chewing cud. They would not wait for communion—why should they?
Bread broken and shared, the soft grasses dampened by dew—a banquet of plenty.
There was no sitting for this service. Oh, once or twice I found a rock that said, “Come, I’ll hold you.” The congregation swept in and out~~~voices laughing, some just rising, whenever, however they entered this Holy of Holies it was their beginning…
The first reading was simple. It allowed the sweet swelling of silence to ensue. For whatever was meant to ‘arrive’—the ‘space’ would be open. The responsorial psalm was sung by the choir masters…birds~~~angels with wings and their voices lifted to the belfry of the steeples~~~endless steeples carved by an unseen hand. Every once in a while I gazed upon a finger print leading to a page turning itself over to the second reading.
A glance back allowed the reading to ripple…wave after wave~~~endless miles lasting forever…NOW.
The ALLELUIA pierced the space…a mist set in fast and furious—The Gospel begun…nothing visible on the tops of these mountains. Trusting steps, each step taken laid ground work for the service’s consummation—no act need make THIS moment real. We were in the living presence of YOU whom I shall not name. You were in us…have I forgotten You? This, I thought, I heard You ask. But why?
Here, now—I know I am because You are. Swallowed in this landscape, You are bigger than this speck I AM. I’m humbled realizing You have sought me here to see in what is invisible…every direction shielded~~~spirit in all vapor drizzling down. I AM following this Gospel and it is more clearly manifested in a clarity that can only be grasped from the chambers of the heart.
I heard beating…but, was it mine? A window opened for a short time allowing ‘in’ the enormity of this chapel space. THIS cathedral I am in does not end. My prayers became like bogs sucking me into earth, releasing me only to step into another.
A rapid descent opened a doorway to this day’s final rest…
“Careful, Careful, Careful” the rocks cried out…”Step softly”—Try as I might to explain this liturgy something spoke inside me…You are in this liturgy NOW—it is ALIVE.
“Remember…I have not forgotten you~~~you are carved in the terrain of my being. Before you were, I AM. Go in peace…love and serve Her who lights the moon and stars and the celestial wonders you still have ahead of you. Your time is not come—when it does, they will all be there to greet you.
NOW, and again Go in Peace…Be Peace…
I AM with you always until the end of age…
I have not forgotten you…”
“…Therefore let the moon shine on thee in thy solitary walk; and let the misty mountain winds be free to blow against thee: and in after years, when these wild ecstasies shall be matured into a sober pleasure, when thy mind shall be a mansion for all lovely forms, thy memory be as a dwelling-place for all sweet sounds and harmonies; Oh! then, if solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts of tender joy wilt thou remember me, and these my exhortations…
(A portion from William Wordsworth’s Lines Written a few Miles Above Tintern Abbey)
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 7
August 28th, 2017 (Additional Day in Grasmere)
What Exhortation Will I Leave Behind?
I have walked great distances within the nearness of my dwelling—the place I know as HOME. I have embarked, traveling curbing distances to lands unknown. After walking for days, I arrived and my heart felt as if it had finally been “found…”
My eyes OPENED to the vast splendor spread out like a bouquet of the freshest flowers…none the same AND setting my being aloft.
The colors—an artist’s pallet could NOT create…oh! yes…close to what the artist could produce by trying to paint this masterpiece.
Ah, the eloquence of it all held within an inner eye attempting desperately to reveal and bring forth the glory of Her Nature. She feeds the soul with sustenance like no temporal food can fill…
Waiting, waiting, waiting~~~with arms ALWAYS open inviting the sojourner to return…
Return again, and again, and again the scene will ALWAYS be NEW—
The seasons will cast their ‘change’ in the very blink of an eye.
Transformation stills the valleys and a gleaming light always present transfigures any pilgrim simply seeking to arrive.
The branches of the pines rise. Their endless refrain my exhortation to life…behold the eternal Resurrection.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 8
Date: August 29th, 2017/ Grasmere to Patterdale
life posed a question—
“What will you see? What will you open your eyes to? I have given you the night…I knew you were awake…I left the soft rains to wash any visible markings—I wished yours, YOUR tracks to create THIS day.”
Setting out, I held the face of a young woman in the dining room…her words, “I have been here four months AND I have walked NO where—now I shall.” She saw life in our steps. Now I gazed at my feet~~~yes, held in boots, and in soft cushioned socks. What was ahead? I could SEE the path, the GPS device made the way a bit clearer and certainly added to the clarity of the destination sought.
I saw clearly the relevance of keeping the path. There were little markers—actually there were—NONE. It was easy to STOP and look…to see off in the distance, far greater than a stone’s throw—a white furry face, a bellowing clamor. What were the sheep saying? I am uncertain who held whose gaze. I sensed a shepherd’s presence—but none was to be found.
Beyond each bend, over every summit, trudging down wet descents, following the curve of the river, stepping on stones to cross bogs, streams…I saw the dust the shepherd left…it rose like incense preparing the way.
Is this what life wanted me to SEE? Was there more? Perhaps, less?
I did not mention seeing the sun rise over the ridge of the mountain…it held in the lens of my camera…orbs of green, pink and red—was that the shepherd?
Yes, the simple lens of my camera captured moments of what held me. Over and over again, it was the face of the lamb—
I saw this more than anything else. I close here as its voice echoes in the distance…’SEE’
Behold the lamb of God—
it is EVERYWHERE
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 9
Date: August 30th (Leaving the Lake District)/ Patterdale to Shap
—foot prints ascending
—a strategic climb
—combing alongside sliding edges
—vistas expanding…truly an eternal expanse in ALL directions.
Leaving the Lake District
(England’s Northwest Corner)
a melancholy began to fill me~~~
to walk out, to turn away…”NO.”
First, I whispered your name—
Then, I spoke it aloud—
And, finally I shouted it from
summits~~~ah, soft green grasses
padding the dance floor
allowed steps to take flight.
My voice echoed your name
Your name became like a song
and the melody of YOU
went on and on and on…
It was your name I called…YES, You!
If you are reading this and say—
“It cannot be me, certainly she did not speak my name?”
Ah, I spoke the “NOTE” that IS You~~~
Your song lives in the harmonies of those stretches of endless incarnations…
Who You are for me will live on and on and on…
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 10
August 31st, 2017/ Shap to OrtonThis day
a blank page…
and the message does not start with “In the Beginning…”
My steps are rooted in the Cosmic Maternal Mother who wrote into life this creation in which I am revolving—Birthed~~~
The stars twinkle like diamonds pasted to a silky black sheet. The dawn— untucked…opens a gate unnoticed and the mother opens the windows—the ‘Sun’ enters…
The landscape breathes in the warmth. If one looks closely enough, the rise and fall in earth’s chest heaves a joyous sigh~~~a new day bursts through a Mother’s Eternal Womb…
Streams and riverbeds flow from the mountains…Her ‘well’ appears brimming in succulent abundance…Her creatures, wild and tame, graze freely pausing to see ‘human kind’ walking on two…feet that is!
I wonder what they are thinking…sometimes it seems they extend an invitation~~~
“Join us…the grasses soft and so decadent at this time…”
I humbly bow in gratitude and whisper, “I’ll pass for now, but might I have a picture?” Sometimes I believe they are smiling.
Dark clouds rise from the west—
to my left, I caught hold of the Gate Keeper…
He walked slowly, steadily—and today “HE” was…
Yesterday, the Gate Keeper was “SHE.”
A teacher…she knew her homeland and she was in a state of bliss as she spoke…(Her Name—Helen/China).
Another day the Gate Keeper was a lake…stretching endlessly~~~as I walked along side the water, I became a solitary vessel opening my sail trusting Her waters to bring me back to the trail.
The Gate Keeper has been mountains—restless and rugged, harsh and demanding…pulling, pushing quickening my heart pooling the blood, sipping the air’s oxygen to summits bathed in ‘cushie’ blades of green stems.
Yes, the green grasses—the Gate Keepers. The single dew drops dance upon each peak…wild flowers~~~yellow and purple blossom because they can…not worried no one notices because the Gate Keeper does!
But who, what…is the Gate Keeper?
Some-days…is it I?
Is this why I am here? Am I discovering who I am in these blank pages with no beginning and no ending…and, are You?
I will name you, God, for now…
are you in between my every line? Every verse? Every sentence? At times as I walk, I feel we are the flame of a candle burning from both ends.
We have come close to the half way point of our Coast to Coast walk—
Shall we meet there?
Can you feel the burning desire of my being as it draws nearer to You and knows we are of the same wick?
I will never extinguish this flame—for now I’ll hand this glow I AM ablaze within to the unknown Gate Keeper…it is almost time to light the stars—I will close my eyes BUT, I will be watching…
Good Night…sweet dreams Gate keeper—who ever You are.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 11
September 1st, 2017/ Orton to Kirkby Stephen House of Kindness
The curtain lifted on today’s unseen performance~~~
The mist in the valleys burnt away quickly by the sun’s solitary opening act…
Our steps slogged through dew~~~together we danced between pastures of sheep and cows who seemed to follow.
This day’s path is marked, yet pathways veer off in every direction with NO clear indicators THIS is how you go…GPS in hand…even ‘it’ seemed off mark, BUT it was I who LOST the way.
Walking, walking, walking—
we climbed over stone walls, barbed wire fences. I was able to sort out the path on the GPS, but it meant stepping (as Alfred Wainright expressed, “By creating your own path.”) This meant more miles for my friend. Our communion held as I scurried ahead to ‘capture’ the trail. Behind me my traveling companion, Lisa Marie (alias, Dipper), walked through the thick damp grasses—boots soaked, our feet damp…a deeper appreciation for the Art of Bogging…
(We have heard that tomorrow we would experience some bogs a waist deep).
Coming together on the path—
My heart resilient—“I have led you to endure MORE miles than the days unfolding?”
Her ‘kind’ heart in response, “I’m sorry I cannot keep step…I’m doing the best I can.”
My ache for her, her ache for me…
We were on the path—did the LOST-NESS give new meaning to unexpected acts?
The curtain closed!
“INDEED”—the curtain lifted…
We walked along stone fences fashioned, designed, meticulously laid marking the lands and holding in the lambs scattered like stars on a sky of green prairies.
A farm rose in the distance. I wandered toward the gate…
A father and his son were preparing the lambs to be sent off for breeding.
An acknowledgement was our single greeting
I told him where we were headed—
how we had been OFF the mark.
His ‘kindness’ overshadowed the pain I was experiencing…MIS-GUIDING our travel.
The farmer, the GATE KEEPER, Bill, said, “Come, sit in our garden—your destination NOT far…I’ll take you there.”
I echoed his words to Dipper—
Light in her eyes…
We sat in the garden’s splendor…
It felt like Eden.
We watched the father and son working—their dog, an artist in residence.
A simple sound of a whistle—the pup moved to the right or to the left. Independently, the four legged furry creature tended the flock. In the mountains, the pup reins in the lambs…so kind, the pup is to them. There is NO sense of anyone being threatened or harmed…it is a dance of love.
The father’s son, a young lad, stopped near the garden. On his face, he wore the privilege of keeping the fifteen hundred sheep with his dad. When the mothers give birth, the valleys full of tiny white clouds, burst with joy…finding their voices…the LAND loves them—feeds them, tends them AND in reply they feed the world.
The Gate Keeper took our packs, our poles and placed them in his auto—the sweet scent of manure penetrated the cabin. Or, perhaps was it us?
We all laughed—
A farmer left his field to bring two lasses to their dwelling.
He taught us lessons we would never have learned any other way. He shared his love for his two sons—his other son knowing this way of life NOT for him.
Today—the Gate Keeper became the Prodigal Father…
His ACTIONS erased any thought that we actually LOST our way…
What a find—
Here in this House of Kindness.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 12
Date: September 2, 2017 / Kirkby Stephen to Keld (Half Way Point) Holy
today THIS be—YOUR name!
In the early morning,
darkness erased any visible sign—
the moon rose…so near to fullness—HOLY
as I stepped outside,
my boots cradled my soles, anticipating
As we traversed the roadway,
we noticed pheasants on the path shining like copper in the
sun’s piercing light. Grouse lifted from
heather as they sensed an unfamiliar
presence…they called out with
Sojourners…going for a day’s trek,
others walking the opposite direction—
few we have met en-route to Robin Hood’s Bay~~~HOLY
Our arrival to Nine Standards…
Rock formations crafted 200 years ago…
purpose…NO real telling—
atop this mountain they rise…
the design intriguing…luring.
The only explanation from a local~~~MYSTERY
Bogs were an item this day…
some walkers were buried to their waists
(this we were told)…
Hiking poles touched the surface before steps taken…
There was NO swimming in Bogs today—HOLY
Markers, signposts directing the way—HOLY
A river running alongside us…
a song…soft trickling, babbling brooks,
small waterfalls carrying endless drops
down, down, down
To the town known as Keld~~~HOLY
This day ‘together’ we have reached the Half Way Point~~~ HOLY
Holy…it is your Name.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day—13
Date: September 3rd, 2017/ Keld to Reeth
Walker, your footsteps
are the road, and nothing more.
Walker, there is no road
the road is made by walking.
Walking you make the road,
and turning to look behind
you see the path you never
again will step upon.
Walker, there is no road,
only foam trails on the sea.
The world wakes
rising to greet your steps.
Like a fresh cup of tea
‘steeping,’ you glance
out the window—
sixteen rectangular panes
framed ‘inside’ ONE sheet of glass.
A picture ‘within’ each etched
—stone walls fancifully arranged
—rolling green meadows, lush and laced in dew
—mountains shaped in curves, bends, majestic heights and downward slopes
—trees extending their branches in anticipation
—a bird held in the morning’s chill
—a town slowly beginning to wake after a long night…
community coming together to finish the loading of hay barrels
—campers…nested in tents
—sky—a pink orange silhouette
—clouds moving in gently asking if they might share this stage…
Walker, from inside YOU, see
the world AND the world sees you.
The glass between you does not
divide your Oneness.
Your traveling kindred silently breathing
in THIS moment.
there are NO doors barring you from
You have arrived before your feet
even touched the ground.
The timeless ‘mat’ you walk upon
endlessly responds, “WELCOME.”
A Gospel Reading…
In two words,
“Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ…”
We did NOT sit for a homily
it WAS spoken beyond verbal utterances.
My friend, breathless (not from the walking,)
but from what she beheld.
She prophetically proclaimed,
The horizon before us—
The sun illuminating rays of light
yet wrapped ‘around’ its circumference—
it was like a halo dipped in red,
purple and orange.
Together, my friend and I froze—
NOT in fear…
NO, we held the moment in reverence
and we walked tasting communion…
THIS was our liturgy
THIS our Sunday service—
I heard in my being,
“Go in Peace, to Love and serve the World.”
the World filled my heart
AND revealed all ‘she’
The Gospel of the World
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 14
Date: September 4th, 2017/ Reeth to Richmond
“Up above a castle! Down below a stream!
Up above a ruin! Down below a dream!
Man made the castle, rude, forbidding, bare.
God made the river, swift, eternal, fair.”
From the recollections of Mr M Wise as
recorded in Richmond Yorkshire in 1830sIn the blink of an eye…
we were ‘in’ a castle.
Its ruins still standing, holding ground—
creating THIS town, Richmond.
Those who dwelt here carried with them the ‘keys’ to the kingdom—
A kingdom holding others at bay…
even the churches governed by its king.
The architecture—its mastery…created by the
peasants who dwelt outside.
Perhaps, they lived beside the river
or a ‘spot’ of land with towering trees.
The little they had~~~
those outside the castle walls—
knew the gift of work,
but they understood ‘heaven’s’ HOME
they dwelt within.
They offered thanks in hardship
and celebrated life as if it were a song played on and on
through chirping birds, baying ewes AND
soldiers marching through the streets.
Immersed in history—
pages from our past bringing to life—NOW!
Here in this ‘landscape’
I have met the most hospitable persons.
I am NOT staying in castles…
When we arrive at our homestead for
the evening, yes, we two strangers, knock
upon a door—warmly we are greeted,
invited in…SUDDENLY—we are
ALWAYS—the invitation to tea,
fresh baked goods lavishly arranged in our rooms…
a banquet of plenty.
Here in this moment…this dwelling place—
the reign of God.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 15
Date: September 5th, 2017/ Richmond to Danby WiskeTHIS morning my ‘being’ released a waterfall of tears as I REMEMBERED…
I experienced a tepid rain fall. My boots sloshed, splashed in puddles…
drenched through and through, my soles seemed to sink themselves in mud, fresh farm fields, paved pathways, AND enchanting forests.
I have walked great distances in my lifetime…
I have enjoyed the challenges, the changing terrains. My soul ‘greets’ these times and, while in the past, I have written with a certain sense of knowing—
I write NOW…trying to express the NOTHINGNESS that holds me and releases me at the same moment.
The roots held in my every step pulled out from beneath me as I continue this journey…
THIS journey—my life!
I tenderly cherish ‘the life’ I have lived, the encounters that have made me who I AM, the beliefs that molded me…AND that melt away as this rain washed over me!
It used to be so easy saying, “I know you God!”
NOW as the sun sets and the landscape begins to fade, those words “I know,”
I cannot say—
THIS Darkness, a shadow over me whispers, “Do I really know you at all?”
It is no longer simple…
My true self cannot play ‘make believe’ any longer.
The weathered roots of my soles keep on—
My pace is not rushed as in younger years…
There is not an urgency to get to the next place.
The ‘puddled’ day brought me back to a solitary Tree along the walk.
It was THIS Tree that spoke to me.
“Who are You?”
I replied, “That is my question.”
The Tree answered, “I, too, am asking this—
perhaps, we are the same beings in two separate selves.”
I said to the Tree, “YOU—see yourself in Me?”
The Tree replied, “Oh yes…I walk when the wind carries me, I am scattered in endless directions, my seeds impregnated in the earth. I am birthed again and again like YOU…and I hold THIS place in the Universe for if I did not exist THIS place would NOT be as it is NOW.”
I listened and then spoke, “Sweet Tree…I AM one with You…I walk.
My legs all the way to my mighty shoulders have become a ‘trunk.’
I have endured weathers, I sustained injuries…but I have learned I can keep growing through/in broken places. My “bark” is strong…inside I am fed by the flow of earth’s abundances filling me from the bottom, allowing me to carry the pack on my back while my arms, my branches, a pole in one hand for balance—in the other, a map points the direction.
From the very top of THIS tree, “I AM”—my eyes OPEN…enamored am I —beholden to the natural beauty I AM enraptured ‘within.’
The Tree whispered, “Well said,” and then it seemed to bow.
“But wait…Tree, tell me,” and before I finished my sentence,
the Tree said, “Rise…Walk” and so I did.
I looked back—only once…my tears ‘mixed’ with the rain.
I remembered so MANY who have made their way ‘into’ widening circles.
I remembered those present—walking with me NOW…sojourners in this life. How rich I am to be able to call out the NAMES of my friends.
I remembered YOU whom I used to call God. If tomorrow comes, and I pray it does—I look forward to walking—walking in all THIS unknowing AND embracing it all as GOOD…
Journal/Coast to Coast—Day 16
Date: September 6th, 2017/ Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross When we discover the ‘inner’ castle hidden inside of us,
we arrive at the ‘entrance’ and realize we have been HOME all along.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 17
Date: September 7th, 2017/ Ingleby Cross to Great Broughton(Early Morning)
The embodiment of eight solitary souls…MOST strangers to one another gathered around the table to dine. The aromas from the kitchen were tantalizing. As the serving began, small talk of the banquet’s delight filled the air. Conversation focused on the path we would embark upon.
One of the eight persons would travel in the opposite direction so took the time to fill us in on the Moors that lay before us. We shared with him the flat farmlands he would encounter…singing birds, green fields and NOISE…an unfamiliar sound after we enjoyed being filled in the nestles of forests, rivers and mountains.
Communion ‘broke’ open when ‘all’ were invited to share…
“What intrigued you to walk this path”—was the question posed.
The waterfall of feelings, stirrings unleashed…
One couple spoke of their sons who were off to school…an empty nest…no reason to stay home AND the discovery, “we still like each other.”
The next gentleman was to walk the Coast to Coast with his wife. They were walking when the call came—his mother-in-law, very ill, was hospitalized. They walked knowing she was cared for. The next call…”We’re releasing your mother.” His wife expressed, “I have to go.” He stating emphatically, “I’ll go with you.” Her reply, “Absolutely NOT…you will go on”—
His walk now filled with the many footsteps he took…the walk he embarked upon filled with much emotion.
The next couple shared with the group of us that more than 20 years ago they completed the first half of the journey. Now in their later years, they were completing their walk.
The gentleman to my right—a regular walker…walked parts of this landscape and NOW was making his way to complete the 190+ miles East to West. His vision ‘deep’ as he shared the sights he had seen on OTHER paths. His gentle presence and silent listening garnished a soft light all around him.
My fellow traveler and I…
She spoke of THIS path being for her a Soul Journey. I have been present to so much ‘transformation’ within her…tears, laughter AND her heart growing with LOVE…amazing because she IS such love.
For me…a spiritual journey—
a profound part of the path of life I walk. Did I need to come away THIS far to understand it again? “NO!” AND…most definitely, “YES!”
Our “HOST”…she WAS the Christ presence…she served and “e”ucharist was had. Amen(Evening after walking atop The Moors near Wainstone)
How does one write the Wind?
The wind holds NO physical presence—it cannot be contained.
If you attempt to ‘bottle’ it, a simple ‘cap’ will be uncorked and will sail in the ‘wind’s’ unseen arms landing—wherever, maybe lost…
Never to be found again.
The wind sneaked in today like a whirling dervish…the dance rapidly igniting, but there was NO flame—
No flame could stay lit in the gusts attempting to pull EVERYTHING up.
The very stones, Wainstones, their massive weight…even they hunkered down—holding to the ground AND so…I did the same—
I held the stone or the stones held me before I thought myself soon to be a kite with no tail launched into a looming sky…a sky helplessly willing the wind to move, to make its way—the wind is anything BUT settled…
So NOW…not only do I ask how does One write the wind but how does a pen find words for the wind’s unsettling nature? Do I dare draw a comparison? Our final steps are drawing close to their ending in Robin Hood’s Bay.
Am I this wind, unmasked, unleashed—
still ‘invisible’ to who I AM…
unsettled by an ending that will again become a new beginning.
How does One write the wind?
I’ll walk in THIS present unknown…
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 18
Date: September 8, 2017 Great Broughton to Blakey
The light of the moon split the clouds and slowly lifted them like a curtain from a stage. The moon was beaming fully pointing the direction to the sea…here our steps arrive and end. The anticipation—haunting. So close…my hand reached to ‘touch’ the moon.. As she ‘dangles’ overhead, silence speaks. “Not yet, you cannot touch me yet.” Three days left to walk—The sun is beginning to paint upon the darkness—hues of pink and orange. I sink from the bed that has held me all night like a cradle…my feet touch the floor AND I am beginning to feel a tide rising within me as we come nearer to the shore.“Here on this mountain the clouds down below I’m feeling so strong and alive—From this rocky perch I’ll continue to search for the wind, and the snow & the sky…I’ve seen the bottom and I’ve been on top but mostly I live in between—and where do you go when you get to the end of your dream?… ” Dan Fogelberg–Netherlands
This day have I reached the END of my dream?
Yes, and NO…
Walking today was like being carried by a feather into an eternal Sanctuary stretching every which way…there were no endings. Swirling daintily, carried by the winds—the North Sea could be seen rising in the distance. I imagine there are dreams I have not begun to behold…
If I could stop blinking long enough my eyes would know NOT how to create what is held between each blink. An endless series of photos are held in my mind’s picture frame and outside my mind the Sanctuary I am ALIVE within holds NO frame…
—an unseen doorway IS a welcome for ALL
—the choir never stops and the melodies played are never out of tune
—altars are many…every stone cries out ‘consecrated’
—HERE in this place, I utter the word from my pursed lips, “God”~~~
God of being—not a being but ALL being.
White clouds hover in the distance—their presence seems to be carrying the sun like incense rising— ‘blessings’ effortlessly being offered.
Am I dreaming? I pinch myself…I am awake. The service in THIS Sanctuary never ends~~~endlessly it bids, “Welcome.”
my prayer will be A Dream.
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 19
Date: September 9th, 2017/ Blakey to Egton BridgeIn my dreams, a prayer had became a Flower. The walk THIS day was a conscious releasing of petals. Mindful of ‘everything’ going on in ‘our’ world, I plucked one petal at a time. I looked back at the trail and saw the way I traveled and realized I would not see it ever again THIS way. I would not see it tomorrow because this present moment will be a fading memory etched in my center’s chamber…yet, again it will be a memory—not this real encounter.
I lay the petals for others who will step upon this path~~~the petals that have been carried by the wind, I send to the endless lands bereft of storms past and presently approaching. There were moments THIS day I thought I could smell the sweet scent of the flowers’ perfume. Twice the flower became a rainbow~~~the colors manifesting themselves like a box of crayons tipped from their container and filling in gaps whose seams opened to a spectrum imbued in a halo of elegance.
The petals held the ground as a patch of dark clouds swirled in. Like a thief in the night, the sun was dimmed…rain began to fall and then pelts of sleet. The wind hollowed…cold, wet. I held the petals in my hand firmly. My voice rose for those whose worlds have been changed, for those who await the unexpected—‘REMAINING’ in their homes…and the countless numbers removed from their familiar—seeking safety.
The sun broke out…a soft wind ensued.
I released MORE petals…I did not have to NAME what each one was/is any longer. The petals were yesterday, today and tomorrow. No matter what is, somethings or actually ALL things come to an end…AND, I trust—the end makes way for new blossomings.
Tomorrow, I write tomorrow because it is the final day luring us to the sea. What treasures lie upon the shores? What shall all these steps reveal? More roads to travel? Fewer paths to seek? Who am I, and who are you?
In this moment, I’ll call you God.
I sang You as I walked today. I believe I have given up fleeing from You because You, God, are always there. Sometimes I do not believe it and, if my friend were not beside me, you reading this might say, “The higher altitudes have touched her a bit.” A grouse pursed its head from beneath the faded purple heather AND rambled, CLEARLY, “Hello.” I looked to my companion, and she to me, as together we heard it again, “Hello.”
I must admit You cause me to laugh aloud but…I will leave it here—
You have NEVER not been at my side…
One dangling rose on a bush clung to a brick wall before our final stop this night—
Was that You God, leaving your petals whispering, “Goodnight?”
I am in love with the questions…Sweet Dreams!
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 20
Date: September 10th, 2017/ Egton Bridge to Robin Hood’s BayHow does one write “The End” when one’s feet finally touch the foam of the Sea AND suddenly a rainbow paves itself upon a single spot in the water arching itself—
(No distance can measure) to a pool awaiting the fresh paint of colors blending in with heaven’s blues?
THIS day, in this final pause, for a first time I glanced at the Sea and saw the Sky…
and they were One—
The sky was NOT above—
the Sea was NOT below…
The rainbow formed in their Union.
I shall carry THIS picture…
more profoundly its PROMISE.
I sink more deeply in THIS silence…
I plunge into the hidden depths—
the place the rainbow seems to go.
What I have gained most in this time, IS that I know so little.
The unknown casts shadows where the sun’s light cannot reach, but down in the darkness is a flame—
but it does not devour.
It is a place of warmth…
I hear it beating.
It is the tabernacle where You, dearest God dwell. Amen
(This I embraced on a Shared Path—thank you, my friend, for saying, “Yes.”)
Journal/ Coast to Coast—Day 21 (Final Day on the Path)
Date: September 11th, 2017/ Robin Hood’s Bay Photos in place of words…