I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Saint-Roch


Only half an hour out of Le Puy and I struck up with Thierry, a gentle ruffian from Paris - kind, cultured, sociable and impeccably mannered like most of the French people I would meet. After a divorce he had resolved to spend the rest of his life "on the road" as a routard or backpacker. We were to spend the next 10 days in each other's company.

In the evenings I would usually book into a convenient gîte d'étape in some small town or village while he went on ahead a few kilometres and wildcamped. We would meet up again the next day and walk on together. I remember one idyllic camping spot he had found near a bend in a remote country road. I caught up with him there early one misty morning. He had gathered sticks for a fire and scooped fresh, ice-cold water from a nearby stream. He offered me freshly made coffee. He had seen a fox in the night. We agreed it was paradise...

The photo shows Thierry in front of a second Chapelle Saint-Roch which stands on the border of the départements Haute Loire and Lozère. There are many churches and chapels along the Way dedicated to Saint-Roch, the patron saint of pilgrims. Saint-Roch (1295?-1327) was born in Montpellier and became a mendicant pilgrim throughout France and Italy after giving away his money and possessions. He was said to have been born miraculously with a red cross imprinted on his chest. He devoted his life to curing with the sign of the cross the plague victims he encountered on his travels.

4 comments:

am said...

I love this photo and the story that goes with it.

The Solitary Walker said...

I'm glad something in this has communicated itself to you. The whole point of this blogging thing, apart from clarifying thoughts, emotions and experiences for oneself, is to reach, to touch others across time and space...

unadara said...

I'm glad something in this has communicated itself to you. The whole point of this blogging thing, apart from clarifying thoughts, emotions and experiences for oneself, is to reach, to touch others across time and space...
I am so glad to have found you and to have you reaching me across space (I'm Irish-so not that much space). I will read on with much joy.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for visiting, unadara, and hope you enjoy reading some of the archives!