Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Just blown in...
Even the Kansans are about done with the excessive winds of late. Constant high winds make the day's distance seem doubled, but what pilgrim doesn't like a challenge? It's been a great workout for my abs.
The good people of Kansas have been particularly pampering lately... one friendly woman scooped me out of a dry and not-uncomfortable church basement to install me for the night in her warm and loving family home next door - scrumptious dinner, hot shower, laundry, grand conversation filled with joy and laughter, and - jackpot for any pilgrim - a foot massage. Alighting on cloudlike feet for another full day in the rainy strong wind, I entered the next farmland village yesterday tired and happy, and after resting a few minutes on a bench in the cemetery on the edge of town, two senior women pulled alongside me in a pickup with a cheerful - where ya headin', stranger? To the church I should think, I'm a pilgrim going to Chimayo (so far, not many have heard of the famous shrine) past Santa Fe. Okay, on the left up ahead, can't miss it. How friendly are countryfolk! The ladies circled the block, pulling alongside again as I continued to walk... would you like to come to my house and stay the night with us? It'll cost ya no more than a story. Well, butter my biscuit! How pilgrim-friendly the people have been since I began this walk back from the Annual Pilgrim Gathering.
In this culture generally inexperienced in pilgrimage, I've been explaining the salient points as I greet people - the credencial, the scallop shell, the peaceful simplicity and tradition stretching back 1,200 years in Europe and existing in all the major religions of the world... Pilgrims be on the lookout, at least some family homes in central Kansas will be putting scallop shells out on their front door to inform pilgrims of a safe and fun place to pass a pilgrim night.
Just at 500 miles into the journey back to Chimayo now - the halfway point is coming up soon and the rolling hills are flattening out as I step closer to the Great Plains.