Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pilgrim Planning Continues...

My computer has been on the blink. Comatose, really. Even my minimalist life was thwarted by the temporary electronic lapse.

The planning continues - 5 weeks until my feet are on the path of long return. Much is still to be done.

Firstly, my friend the Pilgrim-in-Training continues her training but has gracefully bowed out. The undertaking even from Denver to Chimayo is no small undertaking and requires 100% commitment. She quavered and didn't want to interfere with my parallel efforts. So she'll continue to fulfill her steadfast role as being my much-appreciated planning assistant and continue her training toward her weight-loss goal and may someday make the pilgrimage from Denver to Chimayo, but just not with me in October.

The fallout for me is that my pilgrimage is more uniform: there will be no camping; no llama. I'll simply (!) commit myself to walking further and longer each day until I get to some sort of refuge for the night. I'll put myself at the mercy of strangers' kindness and benefit from the risk as I have always done. A pilgrimage. Not always easy, but always adventurous =)

Spanish is coming more frequently and easily off my tongue, but still intermingled with Italian and French. Alors. Alora. It's still much further along than Russian or Ukrainian were a year ago and I did well enough when I needed to with those languages.

Though I tooled with the idea of sponsorship in getting outfitted, nothing has really materialized comfortably. So I forged ahead and bought everything new I determined was necessary after repairing what I could from last winter. A new, smaller pack and sturdy new boots are the most important additions to the kit. I've got an active to-do list going that will keep me busy for the next five weeks, but honestly, I'm eager to get going - if the heat of summer would only pass!

The greatest challenge niggling at me at the moment is obtaining the necessary permissions from the 10 sovereign lands standing between me and the Chihuahua desert in New Mexico. I've researched it to the point that I know I must coordinate with the various tribal War Chiefs, as opposed to the Tribal Governors, in order to gain access to the dirt tracks across the lands. Accessible, paved highways exist, but experience warns me against these - hot, dangerous, and stressful. So far, the direction I've received is to go around these delineated sovereign lands of the Native Americans rather than cross them. I can see their perspective... I'm setting off on a journey of 4,000 to 5,000 miles, what difference would it make if bypassing their lands adds another couple of hundred miles? What would motivate them to grant me permission to cross their territories? But I'm setting off on a cultural excursion and would like to see - without tarnishing thoughts of exploitation or profit - the various corners of this vast and diverse nation. I hope to appeal to a few War Councils in the coming weeks to convince them that I, one tiny, solo woman, pose no threat in walking respectfully and peacefully across their lands in a given autumn afternoon. Fingers crossed.

Although there is a long tradition of pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, from what I've gleaned, the distances covered by foot in generational memory seem relatively short. I'm feeling like a sort of pioneer pilgrim in this area. I wonder if the early pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela had to individually figure out the politics of gaining access to the autonomous territories they'd cross when leaving from their front doors...

5 comments:

ksam said...

Glad to see you back! Hoping and praying for you that all goes well, planning and execution thereof! Buen Camino, Karin

Steven said...

Good luck to you, be safe! I hope you'll meet a lot of kind people in your journey.

Sheila Phelan Wright said...

Ann,
Can't wait to see you tomorrow night. What turns your path has taken and you've not yet begun. Maybe we can meet you in Chimayo for a mini-reunion and a day's rest for you.
The director and coordinator of the Wellness class at DU are very excited about you coming to a class if you can. I'll bring some info tomorrow. Sheila

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and difficult challenge to figure out how to cross the sovereign lands.

Jessica said...

Wow sound life a wonderful journey. I can't wait to hear more about it when you get back. Take care!!!