The final day of any pilgrimage is the most difficult. Along the way, we find ourselves asking, "Is this the last hill?" Because when I climb that final ascent, I want to capture the moment in a picture, a journal entry, in some way that will indelibly mark this experience into the very essence of my being. And when I reach this pinnacle, instead of words, I find myself bathed in my own silence.
There are two thoughts that dominant most pilgrims as they walk that last day. "Something I've planned for so long, is now over," which is followed by the daunting question, "How do I negotiate with myself how I will now live in the world?" How do I tell my family and friends about something they will most likely not understand? The answer lies in the reality that I don't fully comprehend what has happened to me. I cannot put into words the transmutation that has taken place in my mind, body, soul, and spirit. I have come to realize that the most difficult ascent is the final descent. The walk back into reality, back home, is the walk that begins my new pilgrimage—the return to a new normal, to a world that will never be the same because I am no longer the same person—the one I want to delay as long as possible.
Vox Peregrini's remarkable moment was when the improbable happened. Standing atop Dublin Mountain, looking down on the bustling city nestled against the bay, Vox held silence. They seemed almost afraid to move, for fear they would disturb the air, causing the moment to vanish, as they beg against rationale, knowing it will. There they hold back the rushing wave of the eventual.
Almost by telepathy, John asked the group to sing, "When the Earth Stands Still." Without moving, without a prompt, without a beginning note, they sang, "Come listen in the silence of the moment..." They leaned their weight against the wall of emotion and sang. Their voices were not in circle, but they sang into the forest that held them, "There's a deep sigh int he quiet of the forest..."
While the magic worked, our friend the Chaffinch appeared, dancing at the feet of the baritone. The Irish aviary that sang with Vox at Glendalough Mountain would be mystically present. As the notes carried in the air, the Chaffinch then moved to rest on a large stone by a bass. The song lingered on its final note. Not to go unnoticed, he flew around the group to land in a tree behind the sopranos. There he smiled on their lives. To complete his visit and release the group to walk into their new pilgrimage, he flew into their midst. In picture, John caught witness of the experience, though not needed because the joy is now etched deep into my soul's memory. The ascent of the descent has begun.
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