Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The rough places

Cajarc on Monday morning was a dismal place!  Nothing was open and the sky was heavy. I set off without breakfast since there was none provided by the Gite and nothing was open. After a gentle walk to Gaillac you enter the Causse. The guidebook warns about the dangers even today and on this morning it looked particularly foreboding. I was reminded of The Lord of the Rings a book that I believe is full of great symbolism. I was also reminded of Isaiah's ' making the rough places smooth' For me the pilgrimage is about making the rough places of our heart and soul smooth.
 Even when there was a brief parting of the tree cover a mist had descended. After 2 hours I stopped for chocolate and water. I toiled on and reached Limorgne around 11. Just before the village I noticed a lady watching me . When I reached her she asked me if I was a walker. I said that I was a pilgrim. She asked me if I had come from Velay. I thought that she meant Vezalay but obviously the locals refer to Le Puy in this way. She wished me well. Ominously the small supermarket at the start of the village said' ferme lundi'. The next shop that I went to was also closed. I retreated to the church where I discovered that the tabernacle had an image of the Rublev Trinity on the door. I reflected that only a few months ago I had stood in front of the original. Back outside the church I noticed a shop that was open. When I entered it was a smart deli. There were a number of customers waiting to be served and an impressive array of products. I saw some cheese and waited . As I got closer to the head of the queue I noticed some delicious looking individual quiches. An old lady who was waiting with her friend offered me a seat!Who said that a pilgrimage is not about learning humidity?I retired to the nearest bar and ordered a coffee. While I was drinking it Daniel appeared. He asked me where the shop was but eventually reappeared muttering that he could not find it. I suspect the truth was that he found it too expensive!  He asked at the bar and they said that there was a supermarket at the end of the village. Daniel set off as I finished my second coffee. I noticed a couple weighing me up. As I prepared to leave I asked them if they were English. They were from Ipswich. They had been helping celebrate the 80th birthday of a friend. They said that they were going to Figeac. I said that I had walked from there over the last two days. They were most solicitous and wished me well.
I caught up with Daniel at the supermarket and added tomatoes, bread and chocolate to my rations. At a bench we had our lunch. Leaving first I wandered down the track singing Taize chants. About two km out of the village there was a sign to the Dolmen of Joncas. Both here and on the Aubrac plateau there is much evidence of ancient civilisation. We are a tiny part of the long procession of humanity. I wandered down a beautiful avenue to see the Dolmen. When I returned to the main path I thought that Daniel might have passed by. In fact I could see him in the distance. As he approached I could hear that he was also singing. This time it was Ulreia.I directed him to the dolmen and headed on.Today's gite is an exception as it is right on the path. The owner is French but her husband English. They are newly opened this year and have finished the Gite to a great standard. It only has capacity for 10 . Over dinner I was fascinated to hear the stories of others and to see the common thread.

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