A modern day pilgrim of the north, does not have the time for long walks, finding the jewels of wisdom wrapped inside long hours and days of walking.
Also being agnostic, or a half-time believer, the pilgrim does not have a sacred goal at the end of the walk. The search for peace in these circumstances, by necessity happens in the small moments of everyday life.
On my way home, I thought of all of the recent grief. My mind urged me to paint with lighter colors on the canvas of my soul, if just for this moment. By experience I know that joy comes to me through images and text. So I took some photos, with no thought at all. While doing so, a text started flowing in my mind. As I got home I immediately edited the photos, and started writing. As if my soul was overjoyed with the sudden rest from the dark thoughts of late.
Walking in snow takes a certain kind of patience. The snow of this moment captured in these photos, is the snow of the early winter; merely a thin layer. Although it looks safe to walk on, it is treacherous to the eye. For underneath it, are large and unexpected patches of ice. If you do not take your time, watch closely where you’re going, in a second you may end up with a broken wrist or ankle, screaming out in pain.
As winter progresses, the layer of snow gets thicker, harder, more solid. The ice has no place anymore, the snow has taken over. Your walk can be more relaxed, even though you should still watch out for the occasional lingering, small patch of ice along the path.
Time moves fast and spring will be here faster than anyone can imagine. You will barely have to look where you put your feet. Your eyes and feet can relax and go where they will. Everywhere you’ll see the small flower “snowdrop”. The first flower of spring, that pushes bravely up through the ground, defying the last patches of melting snow and frosty nights.
I am now used to walking through this cycle of veiled ice, thicker snow and spring that hesitantly returns. For more than thirty years this cycle has been on my paths. Acute grief, slow burning sorrow, and return of hope, are the same. I have walked them too, for the longest time. My feet are used to both kind of cycles and so far I have never injured myself. I have fallen and hurt myself, but I always got back up again. Sometimes I curse the winter, the agony, the snow, the grief, the ice, the coldness outside and within.
But the pilgrim of the north still knows. Spring always returns.