Sunday, April 16, 2017

Made it!

I arrived easily into Nagasaki City yesterday on a bright spring afternoon.  Bustling with tourists, a cruise ship in the harbor, everybody's excited about the blossoming cherry trees.  (I'm trying to see it, but - big whoop, a few thousand cherry trees... yawn.)  A bit sunburned now and in short sleeves again after the long winter's walk, I'm happy to have completed the pilgrimage.  An interesting pilgrimage, though nothing particularly dangerous - no major earthquakes or tsunamis, a couple of snowstorms, but no blizzards... no men with guns, forgiving terrain - the worst of the worse was a small spider bit that left puffiness - not even proper swelling, and then forgotten the next day... so, not boring, but a very tame pilgrimage.

Statistically: 166 days; 161 walking days.  139 nights hosted by some sort of Catholic community (parishes, monasteries, convents, missions, families of parishes) which is remarkable in a country with less than one half of one percent of the population being Catholic.  Eight nights hosted by Buddhist temples - all very impressed that I'm actually walking and actually mendicant.  In total, 5,607 kilometers (3,484 miles) for a pilgrim-life total (10 years) of 51,125 kilometers (31,768 miles).  As a bonus pilgrimage within a pilgrimage, I visited 22 of the 52 historic churches on the Goto Islands, which would be a lovely one to complete in a leisurely week or two on foot or easy week on bicycle any time of year.

While Japanese cuisine is not my favorite - a devotee to the sud-France palette of flavors - I failed to drop the standard annual bulk I work hard to gain in late summer.  So, I've finished this long winter's walk a bit ragged and tattered, but far from emaciated.  I'm not sure if it's good or bad, but it reflects the society I keep, I suppose.  Japan is a land of abundance.  I sat on many a floor eating raw fish with little sticks - 'just like our ancestors' and truly enjoyed the company of delightful and gracious strangers.

Computers have been difficult to find, and access to emails particularly an obstacle on this pilgrimage - I did try to update the blog regularly, it just didn't work.  I'll do better (I hope) on next winter's pilgrimage.  Next winter: dedicated to St Martin of Tours (for non-Catholics; beefy dude on a horse with a red cape and short kilt who did his thing in 4th century Europe).  As he had been a soldier along the Roman frontier, I plan to walk the length of the Danube River in Romania to its source in Germany, then continue to where he left his mark in cities of France: final destination - his tomb in Tours, for Easter.  Could be a bit of April in Paris next year.

Meanwhile, I continue to help other pilgrims in the 'off season' beginning next week with a 500 kilometer trek along the Missouri River in the central part of the US in dedication to St Rose Philippine Duchesne, a feisty educator who opened the first school west of the Mississippi River nearly 200 years ago.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for your interest.


Margaret Nock said...

Pasg Hapus, Happy Easter!
Very glad to hear that you have completed you journey and remained safe.

Zilong Wang said...

Bowing to your pilgrim's spirit and service! Sending much gratitude and well wishes!

Michèle Dextras said...

I enjoyed reading your blog posts, sparse as they were this time. Looking forward to next year's pilgrimage in territory I know better! Happy Easter and Have a good rest!