Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Sunny, then foggy, then cloudy walk to Woolacombe Bay

The day started out bright and sunny, but just after I took this photo a fog bank rolled in and reduced visibility to about 20 feet.  I don’t know where it came from, it just appeared all of a sudden.  I’ve been in fog before but nothing this dense.  I just walked on hearing the waves crash on the shore below me.  About three hours later, it just lifted as quickly as it rolled in.  Amazing.  The rest of the day was cloudy and overcast but easy weather in which to walk.

“Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously.  When dishes are passed to you extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion.  If a dish should pass you by, enjoy what is already on your plate.  There is no need to yearn, envy or grab.  You will get your rightful portion when it is your turn.”   -Epictetus 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Brilliant Day for a Walk to Combe Martin

The clouds lifted and the rains left.  It was a glorious day for walking, warm but not too hot with a breeze that kept things cooled off For .  The climbs were challenging but the views were spectacular from the cliff tops.  Then the trail would plunge into the woods for a nice walk along a stream before climbing back up on the cliffs again.  I climbed “Great Hangman” the highest point on the entire Coastal Path today, but really not that high.  It’s the repetitive climbs that create the challenge on this trail.

“It takes one a whole life to learn how to live.  But what may surprise you even more, it takes one a whole life to learn how to die.”  -Seneca

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Soft rain on the walk to Lynmouth

Although it rained all day, it was a soft rain.  There were not many people on the path so I was alone with my thoughts most of the day.  The climbs are steep and the paths are muddy making it a challenge to walk with any speed.  It took about six hours to walk the 14.5 miles from Porlock to Lynmouth.  Tomorrow I walk over the highest point along the entire SWCP.

Come to the edge, he said.  We’re afraid, they replied.  Come to the edge, he said.  They came.  He pushed them....and they flew.  -Apollinaire 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Windy Day on Top of Atalaya Mountain, New Mexico

"And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous, and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground of our feet and learn to be at home."  -Wendell Berry

As I make final preparations for my journey, which will take me across the ocean and then several hundred miles of walking, it is important for me to remember that every journey is primarily an inward journey.  Distance won't change who I am and location won't erase my problems.  As I walk, my thoughts will turn inward and the change of location will simply give me another backdrop upon which to project my reflections.  The beauty of nature is a constant wonder and the ever changing light a glory to behold.  I am grateful to be alive and thankful for the possibility of the journey.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Remembering the Alps

Here is a photo from our last adventure this past September... The Tour de Mont Blanc- from Courmayeur, Italy.  I hope you enjoy this moment of beauty.

Here is a new word for me:  "Aparigraha"  a Sanskrit word meaning open palm.  Non-grasping, non-greediness.  Keeping one's desires to what is necessary, what is important.  In our consumer society this is a hard concept.  We are constantly confronted with materialism and sometimes it seems the entire focus of our society.  We need to ponder Aparigraha.

All the photos from the upcoming trek will be very different- looking out across the Atlantic Ocean.  We continue to train, climbing Atalaya (our training mountain) every day, sometimes TWICE!!  There are some days where the elevation gain is over 4000 feet- hard to believe since the path is on the coast by the sea.  The days are counting down until my departure.  I will begin walking in ONE week.  First, a flight into London Heathrow, then a train to Taunton, then a bus to Minehead where the trek begins.

The trail goes all the way around the coast of Cornwall from Minehead to Poole.  Although it is 630 miles, I will only be doing about 400 miles of it.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A glorious sunset over Santa Fe, NM

The end of another day of training for the Southwest Coastal Path.  I leave in just a few days for the U.K. and start my 400-mile journey around the southwest tip of England.  As I finished my climb today I thought of a poem by Edward Hirsch:

I Am Going to Start Living Like a Mystic

Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater
and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall
The trees stand like twenty seven prophets in a field
Each a station in a pilgrimage- silent, pondering.
Blue flakes of light falling across their bodies
are the ciphers of a secret, an occultation.
I will examine their leaves as pages in a text,
And consider the bookish pigeons, students of winter.
I will kneel on the track of a vanquished squirrel,
And stare into a blank pond for the figure of Sophia.
I will begin scouring the sky for signs,
As if my whole future were constellated upon it.
I will walk home alone with the deep alone,
A disciple of shadows, in praise of the mysteries.