My House Move And The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

This week I moved from my Whitehouse property to the Annexe of High Rigg, at the other end of the village. This involved some fifteen car loads, lugging stuff to set up the office, sleeping and kitchen arrangements. Then the big stuff was packed and taken into storage ready for my move into Berwick whenever the interminable solicitors’ delays make this possible. Other stuff was binned or given to the Salvation Army They say moving house is a person’s second most stressful experience. Moving twice warrants being taken off on a stretcher, engaging a chiropractor, having head bangs surgically inspected and sleeping for a thousand years. In my case, however, it was not so for these two reasons.

First, ministering angels helped me to pack, (Judith and Maureen) feed and sort out electrics (Carol). Oh the joy of community friendship. The second reason is that I have just read Rachel Joyce’s award-winning novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Harold confined himself to a suburban house in Devon where he attempted little, shared no deep feelings and merely co-existed with his wife. But when a woman named Queenie, who had worked in his office department twenty years before, informed him she was dying of cancer in a Berwick Upon Tweed Care Home he sent her a card. But when he reached the post box he could not post it so he walked on to the next post box and the next and the next until he sent a new card saying ‘I am walking to Berwick. Stay alive until I arrive’. The long, blistered walk took him out of his comfort zone and into the worlds of diverse people and places. He discovered himself, others and life. I, too, am on my way to Berwick. The process of moving to temporary and then longer term accommodation is difficult, so l have turned this process into a pilgrimage. I pack, I pray, I carry, I lie down, I meet, I eat, I clean. Each duty is part of a rhythm of life. I cannot cope with the loss and pain of this transition in one go but I can take the next step in a pilgrimage.

As if she sensed this, Heather sent me this Michael Leunig poem from Australia:

When the heart is hurt or cut or broken

Do not clutch it

Let the wound lie open

Let the wind

From the good old sea blow in

To bathe the wound with salt

And let it sting.

Let a stray dog lick it

Let a bird lean in the hole and sing

A simple song like a tiny bell

And let it ring

Let it go.

Let it out.

Let it all unravel.

Let it free and it can be

A path on which to travel.

Prayer Tree

This is our way of life.

Posted at 10:39am on 23rd August 2016
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