A transformational journey?

The beginning: the ‘hundred stone’ Leighton Bromswold

To journey, and to be transformed by the journey, is to be a pilgrim (Mark Nepo).

A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place……on return from the journey, life is seen with different eyes. Nothing will ever quite be the same (Macrina Wiederkehr).

A 5 mile walk across Cambridgeshire countryside, with pauses for readings and reflections, in the company of a crowd of people from many walks of life (and some from other countries),

A pause at Hamerton

may not constitute a ‘real pilgrimage’ for some, and may not bring about transformational change for others, but the important question to answer is: was it just a walk?

The answer, of course, is to be found in the motives of each person

At the redundant church of Steeple Gidding

doing the journey, and the individual benefits that each derives. There are no defining elements (distance, duration, difficulty) that convert a walk into a pilgrimage, other than the fact that it is ‘human-powered’ and it is not merely recreational. This particular ‘walk’ was guided by the verse and hymnody of George Herbert (1593-1633), the inspirational lifestyle of the founder of the Little Gidding Community, Nicholas Ferrar (1592-1637) and the latter-day reflections of the poet Stuart Henson…..all of which provided meaningful punctuation to our meanderings through the yellow-blanketed countryside, fragrant with the scent of  hawthorn fighting for recognition midst the pungent flowering of oil-seed rape.

Journey’s end: Little Gidding

Stuart Henson, reading an extract from his poem World’s End

Bishop of Ely places wreath on Nicholas Ferrar’s tomb

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on May 20, 2012, in Aspects of Britain, Little Gidding and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sally Seaman

    Dear Frank
    Thanks for your quotes on transformational journeys. Nigel and I were on our own ‘Alternative Pilgrimage’ with the Amos Trust, in Palestine, and thought of you all across the miles. We have certainly been deeply moved and transormed by our own journey of listening and standing alongside inspiring Palestinians working for peace in an unjust world. May they also experience justice, peace and healing.
    Sally and Nigel

    • Sally, I did wonder where you and Nigel might be…….and now I know. Enjoy your own ‘transformational journey’, and may life never be the same.

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