Just made the decision to stay here for the day. I looked at a weather map on an app given to me by Andy, who's part of the waterskiing for the disabled group. I got to see the map of the "squall" that is coming in. Realized that I just do not need to push for the sake of pushing, and that there might be some wisdom to allow myself to stay put, write, rest up, and move on tomorrow. To walk today would truthfully be about a should - a pilgrim moves on and walks everyday. On the Camino, you actually can't say in an albergue more than one night. And then I have to remind myself that I am not on the Camino. I am on the Mary Michael Pilgrims Way, and as aspect of this path is to honour oneself in the deepest sense, and to pay attention to the clues, signs and gifts from the path. While I feel a little funny to stay put, I also feel more light and at ease, and while it is necessary to confront one's fears, it is also necessary to be smart and wise. I have walked quite a few roads and will do again on this next leg. The roads are narrow and windy, and in foggy conditions, it would be even more challenging to walk and be seen. So, to honour myself and the path, I am choosing to stay put, enjoy the gifts of the people and the place here, stay warm and dry, write, and be ready to move on tomorrow.
I want to walk to St. Austell by Friday so that I can get on the train to Bodmin Station to meet my good friend, Diana. We are spending the weekend together near Port Isaac, where her mother grew up and her grandfather was the town doctor. I believe that the television show, Doc Martin, is loosely based on her grandfather.
We are going to spend the weekend together and a good long time to sink in together, walk and talk, and enjoy just being the two of us. It has been over thirty years since we have gotten to do this! We have gotten together a couple of other times, but always with other people around.
After our weekend together, I will re-join the path where I stepped off to complete my journey through Lostwithiel and Restormel and onto Brentor.
I look outside and watch the flags flutter madly in the wind, straight out from the flagpole. Yes, I am so grateful to be inside and to be listening to my heart and wisdom, rather than my head.
Over the past two days, I have walked from Penzance to a small campground at Bosgreage, just west of Godolphin Cross, and then yesterday on to Stithians Reservoir, just west of the village of Stithians, for a total of 26-27 miles. I have walked along the coastal path and on country roads and lanes lined with hedgerows filled with pink phlox, white Queen Anne's Lace, blue foxgloves, yellow buttercups, stinging nettles, briars and ferns. I have crossed fields of green grasses, wheat, ploughed mud, and one even planted with pink corn kernels - gmo'd do you think? I have walked through tiny stone villages and old farms. I have crossed old stone stiles, wooden ones, and ones made with metal pipes. I have been graceful, and I have been not so graceful. I have slipped, I have fallen in stinging nettles. I have been on my hands and knees to go under electric fences only to be zapped anyway as I had to get my pack unstuck! I have gotten off the path, and ended up quite where I did not expect to, and have to walk a busy "A" road, praying to Mary and Michael as I rounded a curve for safety and protection. I have gotten myself into several fields that had no way out except to go back the way I came in.
What I have noticed is that when I do take a "wrong" turn, I am actually following the Mary Line more closely. I find myself near an old church, or by a "sweet" spot that was not on the walking path. I trust these divergences, and yet at the same time so appreciate moving forward. Such is the path of the feminine. It is not usually a straight line but rather a windy, spirally way that takes you where you need to go, through the sweet spots that bless and infuse you with an energy that you can miss by just walking the most direct and straight line.
I read a great quote by Lao Tzu on Facebook this morning:
If you are depressed, then you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, then you are living in the present.
I have noticed this while I walk. At times, I feel very anxious and self-conscious and my thoughts become "what am doing? What do people think as they see a middle aged woman walking by herself? I should have done this in my twenties. This is crazy. I must be mad!"
And then I come back to center, and focus on my walking and the beauty of the place, and find a peace within. It does not matter what others think. It does not matter that I am in my fifties. It does not matter that I did not do this in my twenties. What matters is that I am walking....here....now.
And I walk on.