Saturday, 25 February 2012
Small Pilgrimage Places
On Thursday Greenpatch dog and I set off on a mini-pilgrimage right across town to try and blow the cobwebs away. We do this sometimes; we decide to abandon our usual trot round the park, break out and go where the mood...or GP dog's nose - takes us. He's a better map reader than myself, I guess. Today was one of those times, especially after the sad events of the previous night when I just want to get out there into the fresh air and walk and walk my troubles away. I quite fancied trying the Speen Moors walk, but several stages in we were thrown by a waymark which I could have sworn should have been there but had somehow vanished since we were last that way. So, we wandered on into Speen and towards the church hoping to pick up the route there. Thrown again - at the entrance to the (former ) Elmore Abbey; now that it's private property I wasn't sure whether their driveway is still a right of way or not. So, we turned tail and headed back towards the church with the idea of visiting The Ladywell, an ancient...well...well, said to be of pagan origin.
It was there we were brought up short. Not what you might think; no epiphanies or messages direct from the Almighty. No angel (with or without flaming sword) awaited us at the gate to the graveyard; this was a plastic bag tied to the gate with red parcel ribbon, with a familiar bright yellow sticker on the cover: Yes, we'd spotted hidden treasure - a Bookcrossing release! If you're not familiar with the scheme, Bookcrossing is like a cross between a huge mobile library and a treasure hunt. Registered bookcrossers release favourite books out 'into the wild,' in all sorts of weird and wonderful places. The book is given a code, so that when it's found, the new reader can log onto the site, write a review and everybody can track the book's progress round the country, and sometimes even the world. And we'd found one; a first for me. I've released books before but never hunted one down myself. I'd forgotten all about it, to be honest. My membership lapsed years ago. Something I put right as soon as I could.
But it was the sudden, serendipity of the thing that so touched me: the beautiful spring sunshine, GP dog was behaving himself for once, this little surprise and the beautiful surroundings. A sense of oneness or 'itness' of God that I experience most often when I'm really aside from everyday life, say, on retreat. It stayed with me as we wandered along up to the Ladywell and back across the park towards home. All will be well....and all manner of things will be well. (No pun intended). GP cat might be gone but she's definitely not forgotten.