Monday, July 23, 2012
Borris to Inistioge - South Leinster Way
Borris to Inistioge 7.21.12 South Leinster Way Today was the longest walk. I covered about seventeen miles. The first third of the day was spent walking along the Barrow River, the longest waterway in Ireland save for the famed Shannon. The Barrow has several old locks at the convergence of tributaries where the weirs are particularly rapid and roaring. I did see a few small boats traveling the river. At Graiguenamanagh the Way leaves the river and turns to walk along the shoulder of Brandon Hill. The weather was gorgeous, a bit of sun and a slight breeze, my first hill crossing without pouring rain and gale force winds. Crossing over Brandon Hill down into Inistioge is a very long walk through forest, farm fields, and a finally into the ancient village. The town had recently become famous from the filming of the “Circle of Friends.” The walk today was less about traveling by foot and more about the wandering of soul. I’ve been having some knee and foot issues and wondering if my body will hold up the next two hundred and fifty miles. What I began to experience is that my walk is training me for the next stage of the journey of my life. Each day of walking, even though my body is showing its age, I gain spiritual power, inner strength, and soul wisdom. Every raven feather that finds me provides a mystical energy I have yet to experience. My steps are training me, preparing me, instructing me, to become who I am being called to become, a new spiritual being. I am nothing special, I am just who I am. My newfound wisdom manifested itself near the end of the day. The Way had been well marked most of the journey, much better than yesterday. I was physically weary, but checking diligently at every juncture for a Way marker. At a more obscure turn onto a boreen I didn’t see a marker so I assumed I should continue to walk straight through. However, just walking past the juncture I felt something, or someone, tell me to look to my right. I did. There hidden behind some overgrowth was a marker signaling me to turn down the other less traveled path. The feeling, the guidance from the raven, the inner voice of soul wisdom, moved me. Still, the next few kilometers were tough going, mucky tracks with pools of water. I imagine that even the horses rode down this path struggled, leaving deep hoof prints. Just past leaving the muddy path onto a more traveled and drier boreen I saw a raven flying high is the sky slightly ahead of my path. I gave thanks for the feather that had found me this day and for the ravens I had seen on my journey. I also gave much thanksgiving for the new insight I had received about my pilgrimage. At that moment the Raven turned and flew directly overhead casting a sweeping shadow over my soul providing me what felt like a blessing and unforeseen sense of connection to the world beyond the mist.