Pilgrimage

20130115-103351.jpgFor over a year I have been reading pilgrimage tales. Actually it started twenty years ago with a book about an intrepid medieval pilgrim, Margery Kempe,whose tales of her pilgrimagesare thought to be the first autobiography in English. Elizabeth Gilbert and Cheryl Strayed tread a very well worn path from the 1300s. And presumably people have done it much longer without writing about it.
It seems to me that pilgrimages today occupy the same spot in our culture they did then, offering people an alternative to the all consuming vocations of family (mothering) and work. Something you do for yourself in the guise of serving your higher power.
Pilgrimages are soaring in popularity today- The Camino de Santiago and the Appalachian Trail receive more supplicants every year. I have read more colorful descriptions of filth and blisters than anyone would need to. Many of these pilgrims are overtly anti-God. But they are desperately seeking something. Most poignant to me are the trail journals about the difficulty of returning to everyday life. Clearly some folks become addicted to the seeking, like Gideon Kraus Lewis and must keep running. Nothing wrong with that, ahem. I am addicted to pilgrim narrative and I have all the weather at the start of the many routes programmed into my phone so I can fully fantasize- it’s snowing today in Roncesvalles, probably not a good day to start.

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Author: Emily

Writer/ Librarian

One thought on “Pilgrimage”

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