Something beautiful is happening all around us, in the middle of the discomfort of the pandemic. People are walking. We are smiling and nodding at each other from a distance as city pathways fill with new pilgrims. My children are taking the initiative to embark on walks. In the past, wild horses could not get them on a family walk. The very suggestion would create shrugs, sighs and resistance. I’m enjoying the change, and so is our dog! Walking is the most democratic and simplest of activities. The Ancient Romans declared that any problem could be solved if you walked long enough. How many of us have solved problems, settled a troubled heart and resolved internal battles by walking? Those great conversations as we walk can change the compass of our life. As Terri Guillemets quotes, “a morning walk gives the body a chance to forgive the trials and tribulations of yesterday, to shed its rubbish and mental clutter.” While Thomas Jefferson famously said. “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Pilgrimage historically has been a big part of the Spiritual Journey, particularly during this season of Lent as we follow the path to Easter. Life itself is often referred to as a pilgrimage – a graphic reminder of us being on a journey with God and a journey to God. In the gospel of Mark, chapter six, we find Jesus himself withdrawing into the hills and paths of the wilderness of Judea overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Jesus would often break away from the crowds and take time to pray and reflect, spending time with God, the creator. Then rejoin the hustle and bustle of life. This has been my experience as a walker. I have embarked on the West Coast Trail, High Rim Trail and the Worcestershire Way, to name a few. But, it has not just about those epic journeys, it is the beauty of my pilgrimages around the Rutland bench winding through the orchards, the beautiful bubbling Mission Creeks beautiful and the endless twisting trails of Knox Mountain. I walk, I think, I meditate and pray, the path always changes me in some way. I am creating a moment in time, cutting through the busy and finding a thin place to reach heaven. I often obtain a new and deeper perspective on what the next stage of how the journey might unfold.
‘Solvitur ambulando’ is a Latin phrase that means, “It is solved by walking.”
We know that Covid-19 can’t be solved by walking, but by walking, maybe our health and wellbeing are in a better place to face these uncertain days.