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Thursday, 2 April 2009

Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages

"Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour...
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages..."

Thus wrote Chaucer in the 14th century and it's funny how every April, all these centuries later, the same longing for pilgrimage begins. No matter how drastically external things change, the same basic human/spiritual instincts remain the same. Perhaps, with the awakening of the Spring comes the eternal desire to return to that freshness that pilgrimages bring. Apart from modes of transport, nothing has changed either in the way that pilgrims of whatever faith set out on their pilgrimages. Still, people tell their stories as they go along the road (or plane or train). Still, there are the amusing people, the over-zealous ones, the ones who 'adopt' you when you wish to be alone, and the ones who wish to pour out their hearts and those who wish to be quiet. It's so fascinating how the same people appear century after century - so fascinating and so lovely.

I love pilgrimages; the journey, and even the decision to take the journey, is as much a part of it as arriving at the pilgrimage centre. Having been on many pilgrimages, it still fills me with wonder about they way they begin; the time before setting off when you wonder why you're bothering; the being there and only when you come back realizing what it was all really about - like Wordsworth's description of poetry being 'emotion recollected in tranquillity'. I guess the whole idea of an external journey is the physical acting out of the real journey we all make into the true Self and our true selves.

Pilgrimages are rather wonderful and April with its sweet showers really does stir the heart towards them!


Annette said...

Ah! Wonderful Chaucer!

Christina said...

Thanks for posting, Annette...You obviously like Chaucer :-).