Making steps in the rain

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A short day in the rain

A cold rain challenges even the best of walkers.  There is a sense of vulnerability as the weather chills the body. There is a likelihood that your thoughts will turn inward and the journey will become a bit introspective.

imageBy now most of you must know that the demonstration I was walking to attend has been canceled by the Paris authorities for fear of terrorist attack.  Ed & I walk on. It isn’t that I lack fear, nor is it plain stupidity that sees me make these steps. It is a faith that my answer will come when I finish the task.

We all must walk in a cold rain from time to time.

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The road thru the forest to Portes

A road made for footsteps

  1. On the way out of Bernay we passed a sign drawing our attention to a medieval gate that had served as the entry for the road from Paris.  Much has changed since then.  The road to Paris bypasses the little town entirely.  All that is left on this side of the stream we follow out of town is a narrow little road that follows a gentle valley.  On the other side of the stream is a railway with trains flying past every 20 minutes. They are fast and the engine’s electric, so the disturbance is slight and you return to a natural ambiance in short order.  The newest road (there are others) is on the other side of the ridge and we can’t hear or see it.  A day earlier we battled its high speed traffic for 12 miles. While it is legal to walk that size road it isn’t safe. I battled many such roads across America and still find it disheartening to see such a loss of humanity when drivers are behind a wheel. But today that isn’t a problem. I share the road with vehicles but the speed is not great and their are farm tractors and machinery moving along this lane. The road rolls over the land without disturbing its natural contour.  I couldn’t  help but wonder about the numbers of people who moved by foot on this lane over the centuries. Then I noticed a Camino marker. Pilgrims from the 11th century used this very rode to make their way to Santiago… Amazing, isn’t it?  The world is so small and so connected. You are meant to travel some roads whether you know it or not… A pilgrims walk is not done with me yet. It was a day to soak up natures gifts. Ed and his foraging for food along our way is beginning to rub off. I found my share of late blackberries and chewed on a chestnut or two.
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    November blackberries

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    The Paris gate in Bernay

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    Always friendly!

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    A winter cover of the rape seed plant

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    Beast at the gate

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    Lichen on a slate roof

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    A road made for the foot

A day off in Lisieux

It’s good to have a day off the road… It’s good to have time with Kate and Pat. A day off the road gets your laundry caught up. A day off gives you a bit of time for exploring a Cathedral and time to read up on your resting place. In Lisieux, it also provided a glimpse of France post  Paris attack.  The streets filled here at 6 pm for a march to honor the victims of the terror. There were more than a thousand in the streets of this small city. It happened all over France at the same time.  We were pleased to walk with them and support the victims of terror. Today there’s no shortage of victims.

The Road to Lisieux

Sunday was warm and sunny. The road followed a winding ridge thru old apple orchards, and small dairy farms. This region has always been known for its cider and cheese. I can now attest that both are wonderful.  Pat and Kate joined us today. They walked the 16 miles like they’ve done it before. Kate’s Google navigation was a huge improvement over mine, and even kept Ed on his toes. We’ve a rest day here in Lisieux, and hope to get some laundry done and keep our feet up
We thought of those of you at Zion UCC and your march Sunday for climate action. Bravo! Every single step counts.

The Road to Lisieux

The Road to Lisieux

Pat & Kate join in for 16 mile journey to Lisieux

Pat & Kate join in for 16 mile journey to Lisieux

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Dozule, Normandy

Today’s walk passed tranquil farm houses with mounds of sugar beets resting on turned soil. Those who ran the shops providing me bread and water, or worked the farms my footsteps passed … These people of Normandy, reflected sadness, and if we communicated at all … despair arose.
My day began last night with a text from Kate; “I don’t want to wake you but I want you to know we are in our hotel room and safe from the craziness on the streets of Paris.”
Despite the sadness and despair that we bare, there is peace always to be found, and blessings never to take for granted.
Fourteen days to Paris!

Farmhouse on the road

Farmhouse on the road

Ed and Sugar Beets

Ed and Sugar Beets

The Pilgrimage to Paris and the Cop 21 Climate Summit

Days one, two, and three; The beaches of Normandy

Ed and I walked east from Omaha Beach to the River Orne at Ouistrenham, and now have turned inland. It was a moving experience walking in the footsteps of so many who sacrificed so much. The American cemetery, the memorials, and the scars still visible even 70 years past leave you in awe of that generation. It was for this notion of sacrifice that we chose the beach at Omaha as our start point for Paris.

If a generation comes together recognizing a threat and is willing to sacrifice, great achievements are in its grasp. May the nations of this world and most certainly its people, be willing to do so for our Planet and our future.

Beaches of Normandy

Beaches of Normandy

Omaha Beach Memorial

Omaha Beach Memorial

Historic Photos of the Local on D-Day

Historic Photos of the Local on D-Day

The Narrow Lanes of Normandy

The Narrow Lanes of Normandy

The Narrow Lanes of Normandy

The Narrow Lanes of Normandy

Royal Canadian Tank at Gold Beach

Royal Canadian Tank at Gold Beach

Finish Line

I crossed the George Washington Bridge just as planned on the 20th of September, 2014. My children awaited on the NYC side. They walked beside me the 7 miles south to Columbus Circle and the connection of footsteps from my original march to the People’s Climate March was completed at 12 noon. Afterwards there was a “short” visit to McSorley’s in the East Village… my favorite time defying locale in New York City.

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