Going through airport security is always a hassle. As my hair has gotten longer and the tattoos have emerged out of hiding I got searched more and more often. I've gotten so sick of it that Cathy and I went through the process of getting Global Entry cards. I thought for sure that would solve the problem. Not quite. The second time I went through the special line I got pulled out and sent through the other line for more scrutiny. When I handed my identification to the person they said the ID didn't look like me. "In this picture," he said. "You looked like a banker. Now you look like a biker. What happened?" I told him I didn't like that person. The person in the picture was a wall keeping people from seeing the real me—this person you now see. He smirked and waved me on.
Good thing he didn't ask me how I got to this point. That indeed would have taken more time than he or the people behind me would have tolerated. Actually, I'm writing a book about that story. The book title is Pilgrimage: A Way of Life.
Walking, taking one step at a time, is transformative. Place the walking in a mystical forest like the Wicklow Mountains and the transformation begins to work the whole person, body, mind, soul. That's what a pilgrimage is—walking for the sake of being shaped by the experience. This is my fourth pilgrimage. I've learned that I don't know what's going to happen to my body, or my mind, or my soul. I just know to be open to whatever will happen. I trust the pilgrimage itself to know what I need. I trust the path, no matter how difficult. I trust the weather, no matter how unpredictable. I trust the forest, no matter how dark. I trust the trees, the birds, the animals to speak their word, for I will listen. I trust all because all of it, and more I have yet to see, is the pilgrimage.
Thirteen of us begin walking the Wicklow Way on June 26. The pilgrimage has already begun. Pilgrims are making their way here. Bags have been delayed. Pilgrims have been delay. But no one has been deterred, for the lure of the pilgrimage and her ever fetching of us never ceases. We hear and our feet respond.