A Trail of Life
Lorne Vineberg is a personal friend who dines at the temple ashram's dining room from time to time. He handed me a CD of violinist Oliver Schroer, a friend of his who like me is also a walking pilgrim. I was delighted to receive the music (very spiritual). It's exquisite!
Perhaps the most talked about pilgrim trail in the world is the "Camino de Santiago", an eleven hundred year old pilgrim trail which makes its mark through the landscape of France and Spain. Oliver trekked between May and June of 2004 a thousand kilometres. The history in short of Santiago de compostela is the legendary burial place of St. James the Apostle and in the year 815, a hermit was led to the grave by shimmering, miraculous lights. The bones were identified by the gourd and the scallop the apostle always carried. A church was built over the tomb. Oliver, who trekked with friends, wrote, "El Camino, the road, a metaphor for a spiritual voyage, is also a very real physical path. It is a muddy trail through a forest. It is continuously changing in shape, colour, texture, mood... the one constant is the sound of footsteps. We crossed physical landscapes of mountains, fields, valleys and forests. Fellow pilgrims are from every continent."
On my walk, pilgrimages of a similar sort, I've met people who had the pleasure of being part of the walk at Santiago de Compostela. People testify that it's life-changing which to my ear hits a sensitive chord. I would like to see caminos everywhere. One acquaintance, Karnamrta, a gifted musician herself like Oliver, took that train last summer and loved it.
Long treks have that power to transform and you can't really understand it until you put your feet on the ground and move forward.
The easy listening of Oliver's CD reflects what was so experiential for him. Before his passing a couple of years ago, he wrote (and played) about the wisdom that came from his walking, "I hear the wonder - and the struggle - of getting to know the earth one step at a time."