That we can walk as companions in this so pleasant a path.John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress
Throughout my sabbatical I have been thinking about and chronicling the many various paths, trails, roads, alleys, aisles and streets I found myself upon as I have travelled over the past two months. This post contains pictures from these walks; nearby in Lexington; a little farther in Martha’s Vineyard; and even farther still, all over Ireland. In Dublin I averaged over 15,000 steps a day. Each time I set out, I was anticipating that most incredible of all days when I had the opportunity to hike the Croagh Patrick. I felt each step had led me there, as each step has now led me back home.
In each venue, I also imagined the other people, fellow sojourners, strangers all using these same paths from the past or in the future. I have considered with humble appreciation those who helped forge, prepare and maintain these living arteries of human travel. Sometimes we walk with purpose, sometimes we wander, sometimes we are lost and don’t know the where or the why of our going. Isn’t it amazing when you discover how the unexpected travel is often the path to the more interesting experiences? All of this made possible by these spaces, prepared and traversed long before our arrival.
Wherever we walk, we are never completely alone in our journey around the planet. Often, the path is made brighter with a companion or two. Yet, it can be equally good when we walk alone except for those imagined friends joining us through the mystery of time.
Pathways are metaphors of taking a spiritual pilgrimage. Bunyan reminds us how the faith-filled pilgrim makes “progress” upon the path. Stephen Dedalus carefully examines his existence upon his early morning stroll through the strand at Sandymount. Leopold Bloom doesn’t stop moving on his celebrated day on June 16, 1904. We “roam” with Berry in “A Homecoming.” All these works have inspired my sabbatical walking.
As we move through space and time, we seek after a deeper and more eternal meaning in the God who moves with us, ahead of us and behind us. We hope to follow the guiding light, or at least be comforted by searching for the the divine presence even while in darkness.
Below is a pictorial collection of some of these pathways. For fun, if you like, try and guess the different locations below. If you click on each picture, you will be able to find out more information at the bottom of the comments section about their location and the dates I was there. And someday, you might find yourself in one of these exact spots as well.