January 20, 2023

Is pilgrim life worth it? Is pilgrim life worth it?  Or is it a waste of life?  The fool over there, who wanders through life, certainly suggests that pilgrim life is wastrel at the least.  Of course I think otherwise.  Yes, walking leads to a trance-like state, like the modern practice of walking labyrinths.  (That’s a whole other subject which I will explore another time, though I will boast of walking the famous one in Chartres twenty some years ago.) ... Read more

January 14, 2023

It actually is a beautiful day in the neighorhood. We have sunlight here in West Michigan which is rarely in winter.  December was 90% cloudy.  The wh ole month.  That made my daily walk harder.  But I still went out.  Yes, for the exercise, which is as good for the spirit as it is for the body.  But also to practice noticing. “To see the world in a grain of sand,” wrote William Blake. “and heaven in a wildflower.”  I... Read more

January 4, 2023

Listening to me is more a saunter than a hike. I meant to tell you about Sigeric the Serious. With a nod to my Patheos sponsor, James Ford, whose “Monkey Mind” posts tend to wander more than march, let me tell you about this character whose moniker sounds more like a character from “The Princess Bride” than actual history. Sigeric (the only name he had or that we know) was a Catholic Cleric in England during the 10th century. Nothing... Read more

December 31, 2022

Four hours left in 2022! Though strictly speaking it is already 2023 everywhere east of the US as I post this, by the time it gets to be January 1 in Honolulu it will be January 2nd down in Wellington NZ.  I would say Happy New Year except that it is already over, if it ever actually happened, that is.  If this is confusing, the problem is not time but we humans.  Here’s how. We pick up our cell phones... Read more

December 23, 2022

The blizzard has started.  It’s not a blizzard quite yet; that comes later.  Right now, the snow is light, muffling the cars passing on the street below me.  My desk faces a window, you see, so I can take in the world, which as I write is dark and quiet.   Quite the contrast to my first overseas trip since May 2019 which plans I just finished today, down to details like which bus or train to take to which hostel... Read more

December 16, 2022

No doubt it was at summer camp when I was around age nine that I first heard the song “The Happy Wanderer.” You know the one.  It goes “Vaderi, Valdera, Valderi, Valdera Hahahahaha…” Instantly I formed a picture in my mind of someone walking along an Alpine path, striding, breathing deeply, communing with nature. And I wanted it.  Not until I was thirteen, though, did I see mountains like those I imagined then. We were on a train to Montana,... Read more

December 10, 2022

I rise before dawn, which is not hard when you live as far north as Milwaukee and Crater Lake and Vladivostok, and on the western edge of the eastern time zone.  As the sky brightens I am out the door for my daily excursion.  My goal is 10 K a day, about 6.2 miles.   I walk, rather than run for three reasons.  1) When I jogged I hated it. I did it for health and ground out every step.  2)... Read more

December 2, 2022

So there we were, on a warm, autumn evening just before the sun set – my five year old self with my three year old brother, my baby sister and my parents – approaching the main road after about a mile of walking on a dirt road.  This was not the plan when we set out on our Sunday drive.  We were supposed to be seeing an old historic site on dad’s map, but a missing bridge where the map... Read more

November 27, 2022

On an early autumn day, when I was about five years old, that’s when I became a wanderer.  That was over sixty years ago, now.  What happened that day was not a revelation or even a beginning, but the beginning of the beginning; which could have turned out very differently at any number of times along the path of my life.  But in retrospect, that was the day. Welcome to “Pilgrim Life,” an account of my wandering through life, something... Read more

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