Saturday, June 28, 2014

Knockree to Roundwood, Day 2 of the Wicklow Way

This was the third time I have the walked the 16 miles from Knockree to Roundwood. The walk encompasses the valleys, the mountains, the forests, the fields of Irelands. The glorious Powerscourt water fall and sweeping pastures are spectacular. And then there is the dreaded White Hill, the highest point in Ireland.

Twice before I walked over White Hill, known so because of its vast reservoir of quartz. Both times I had made my way over the bald hill, the weather was horrid. The wind blew 40-50 miles per hour, driving the rain sideways from the ocean coast in the east. The fog was so dense I could barely see my hand in front of my face. Frankly, the walk was miserable. In both cases, I dragged myself off the hill, drenched and glad to be past the experience.

Today was a brilliant contrast. Overcast skies with a peeking sun. Lovely breezes. Perfect temperature. It was so hard for me to imagine what I had been unable to see walking over White Hill. And today, there it was, the vast panorama of Ireland's eastern coast, miles of luxurious emerald greenery, a granite sheer mountain, and Guinness Lake all bathed in a misty the misty moving clouds. What was unseen was now seen. The mystery of what was behind the thin veil was now revealed. The paradox of the opposites of the divine had made herself known. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Pilgrimage continues to do her work in my life. I've walked the Hill three times. I pray to walk it a fourth. Each time, I did not know what to expect. The fourth will reveal another side of the Hill's majesty and yet another unfolding in my own life. To pilgrimage is to hold lightly the possibility of surprise, that which is discovered in the Creator and the Creation—to find newness in both the divine and her the world she created—and in myself. Today's experience will take years for me to unpack the power and mystery that has been worked in my soul.

Today was also a day to be privileged to journey with others. To watch them experience the holy, the mystical, the divine. To witness them stand on open edges of the heights and open their arms to embrace the clouds move to kiss their faces. Tears filled my eyes and joy flooded my heart. Their stories make my story complete. I, indeed, am humbled by their courage, perseverance, and gleeful joy at seeing the majesty of the Hill, for the first time, as did I. Just brilliant. Blessed be.

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