Wednesday June 21
Today the River Esk has accompanied all our journey – sometimes right by our side, at other times at a distance, and for one section of the way totally out of sight as the lashing rain reminded us how it comes about the river never runs dry.
We left the Danby car-park with the first shower of the day to accompany us. It was light and kind in every way. As we climbed and looked back over the valley, one of our first reflections included a word of thanks to God for getting wet – and we remembered how many of the world’s people live and struggle in arid places. Shortly after that we realised that showers are not necessarily gentle and brief – and the suddenness of the downpour meant that pilgrims who thought themselves well prepared never found time to get all their waterproofs on. Peter gallantly phoned and offered to pick us up in the minibus, but by consent we agreed that a measure of discomfort was appropriate for modern-day pilgrims. Hilda would surely have experienced far worse.
As we reached the foot of the hill at Leatholm the rain returned as proverbial stair rods. Some of us sheltering under a large tree hesitated even crossing the car park to the protection of the minibus, though eventually we all piled into the vehicle to eat our lunch. And then at last things changed…..
Wet clothes were gradually dried in the warmth of the welcome sunshine. We made our way eastwards down the valley, stopping from time to time for moments of reflection. We passed a communications mast: how do we function as communicators? As we looked at the remains of an old water wheel, we asked what give us energy.
Further along, we learned the legend of the Beggar’s Bridge; and then, as we climbed steadily upwards on a long stone trod, we recalled the monks who regularly walked these paths centuries before us.
And as the final village of Egton Bridge came into sight, with the challenge of two sets of stepping stones to see us across the river, we thought about the people we have relied on over the years, who have been as stepping stones on our own life journey.
Good to reflect on, as we came to the end of this further day in our shared pilgrimage.
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