For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Sunday, 10 February 2008

A Gift From The Gods

Well, I'm livin' in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line/Beauty walks a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine... BOB DYLAN Shelter From The Storm from Blood On The Tracks

The natural world so readily accessed but so difficult to really touch in spirit... JOHN HEE from his blog Walkabout In The UK

For days now I've been pondering John Hee's line. Of course he's right. Despite the split infinitive! We can buy the right gear, the right maps. We can plan our route. We can walk to pretty places. We can even walk to desolate, wild and remote places. We can watch wildlife. But to 'touch in spirit'? That is a different order of things. Perhaps we can only hope for those occasional mystic moments which come at us from out of the blue, overwhelm us momentarily when we're least expecting it. I experienced some of those moments in Galicia. Beautiful Galicia! This was the best landscape since the Pyrenees. I 'crossed the line' just before O'Cebreiro. There was a marker stone. The seasons reversed. I walked from winter into autumn.

I suppose Galicia's a bit like Celtic Cornwall or Brittany, but bigger, hillier and more wooded. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous all the way to Tricastela and on to Sarria, Ferrerios and Portomarin. The weather continued to be good - sun on the tops and mist in the valleys. I walked in a dreamlike state. My feet followed the twisting paths and tracks easily and automatically. Climbing hills seemed effortless. My conscious mind - my rational, route-finding mind - switched off, and I absorbed the stillness, the silence, the beauty of my surroundings. By that I mean beauty in the Keatsian sense of beauty is truth.

Beauty walks a razor's edge. It's difficult to touch in spirit. But when you touch it, it's genuinely a gift from the gods.

4 comments:

am said...

I've been meaning to say that I love the photo captioned "Canigou, Pyreness." I feel as if I've been there before.

am said...

Pyrenees is what I meant to type . . .

The Solitary Walker said...

Will post it "in big" later...

Luiza said...

Thank you for your wonderful Blog which I have been reading over the past 48 hours. You are able to put into words how I feel yet cannot express. I have pasted your final quote on this page as the header for my next Camino walk. I hope you do not mind, if you have objections that I shall take it off my site.