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

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Sharing Bread (And Chocolate)

Yesterday's photo was taken in the cool, simple interior of the chapel of Saint-Jean-le-Froid (see pic) which is situated on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques above the village of Lascanbanes - about half-way between Cahors and Moissac. It's hauntingly numinous there. It lies in the old French province of Quercy. See how the simple and beautiful altar resembles a pre-Christian dolmen - I've written about this subject before here.

I suppose the figure in the chapel's stained glass window represents Saint-Jean-le-Froid himself. I don't know much about this saint - except that his name translates as 'Saint John the Cold' - which I saw translated on some French website once as 'Saint James the Refrigeration'!

There's a pilgrim register in the chapel where you can read hundreds of comments pilgrims have entered, alongside their names and nationalities.

The chapel was renovated in 1982. Next to the chapel there's a miraculous fountain. At summer solstice each year people would drink water from it just before sunrise in the hope of curing eye diseases and rheumatism.

Earlier that day, I remember, before the sun had burned off the mist, I met a French schoolteacher and her daughter who were walking part of the Chemin together. So nice for a mother and daughter to be doing this, I thought. Sadly I can't recall their names now. I should have noted down the names of everyone I met. I think it's important. We chatted easily for half-an-hour. They were lovely people - très sympa, as they say in French. They offered me some of their late breakfast - bread and chocolate!

2 comments:

litehiker said...

Have really enjoyed reading your Camino postings. They brought back my memories of, I think 2003, when I did just the last 200km to Santiago, starting in Villafranca del Bierzo. It was an organised walk with around 16 of us but was such an amazing time. One day, I will do it again but starting in St Jean. Next year is LEJOG for me ...

The Solitary Walker said...

So nice weight-wise not to have to carry a tent, stove etc on the Camino as the albergues and refugios are so cheap to stay in - and so sociable. I want to do the Camino del Norte next time...

Best of luck for your Big Walk next year. I shall be following it..!