Skirting the fringes of light and heat.
Walking in the cool shadows.
Shirking the sun.
Darkness and shadow dwellers.
Peace walkers by name.
Finding refuge from open field
in dappled shaded slivers.
Shadow shiver shudder chill
as hot sweat turns to ice clinging
to the body saturating clothing.
Hours of blazing sun.
entering the still cool quietude of a church
a welcomed reprieve from our daily penance.
Walking reveals our shadow side ever changing
Sunlight exposes our dark secrets
brings them to light
have nowhere to hide.
Cursing the brutal heavenly sun
that shows me my hell.
Cursed are you in your incessance
ever beating down on me
no rest for the wicked.
Walking through heat and pain
walking it out
the past minutes become hours
distractions evaporate with endless stepping movement.
Tired pushing on. Burning.
Making promises with the devil if only shade.
To stop the sun from shining to bring clouds and mist.
To banish clarity. To bring cooling darkness
to stop the insanity of seeing ones truth.
To live in the shadows brings comfort
and blissful ingnorance.
Delays inevitable pain.
Keeps hidden knowing.
To walk across the face of the sun
takes courage to face the devil
to resist temptation
to say no to comfort
to stop living in the shadows
and find ones light.
This is a poem I wrote while walking on Day 25 of our pilgrimage along the Canal Lateral de la Marne in the Champagne region of France. It was inspired by a conversation with Cressey. Cressey is walking independently from our group for large parts of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
She has walked the Camino to Santiago many times, together with numerous other long walks. You could say that she is a professional walker.
She mentioned that a Spanish man on one of the Caminos had called her a ‘shadow walker’ as she avoided the heat of the sun by walking in the shaded areas wherever possible. I think she said that this person didn’t know the word shade.
The heat of the day can quickly sap ones energy and cause dehydration. As we walk through sweltering heat and blazing sun we too have become shadow walkers.
Seeking Comfort Avoiding Confrontation
Heat and discomfort are great incubators for revealing stuff we keep hidden in the shadows.
Seeking comfort helps to keep our dark side hidden and coming to light. In comfort we avoid being confronted with our stuff.
With such oppressive heat we feel we would do anything to just have some cooling comfort. Hedges, trees and woodlands hedging country roads and woodlands are a welcoming reprieve which see us weaving towards the shaded areas.
Places of Refuge
Along our journey we pass numerous little villages and the relief one feels entering the cool dim stillness of a church is incredible. To sit down at a pew to rest weary feet and cool down in serene silence make these places of worship places of refuge from the blazing heat.
Entering a church feels to me like walking into a forest cathedral with trees holding up the protective canopy and ethereal beams of sunlight filtering to the forest floor.
In any given moment, a man’s growth is optimized if he leans just beyond his edge, his capacity, his fear. He should not be too lazy, happily stagnating in the zone of security and comfort. Nor should he push far beyond his edge, stressing himself unnecessarily, unable to metabolize his experience. He should lean just slightly beyond the edge of fear and discomfort. Constantly. In everything he does.
The American author David Deida, who writes about sexual and spiritual relationships between men and women speaks about leaning just beyond one’s edge.
In life I can see how as I have got older I have gotten a little ‘soft in the middle’ borrowing words from Paul Simon’s song ‘You Can Call Me Al’. I remember leaning just beyond my edge more then and sometimes pushing too far beyond it.
Skirting the edges and remaining in the shadows of comfort and ignorance can stop us from getting to know ourselves.
Too much comfort can stunt our spiritual growth.
Seeking comfort can keep us well within our comfort zone.
The pilgrimage to Jerusalem is an opportunity for me to step back into the light, to grow and be nourished by the life-giving sun, to lean sometimes a little more beyond my edge, to not always skirt the edges and move beyond the shadows of fear and doubt..