A transformational journey?
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),
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
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.