I am sitting in Greenwich Park, beneath blue skies that are slowly streaking white. The sun is warming the bare skin on my back. The wind rustles the leaf laden trees echoing around the park in nature's own mexican wave. Lovers picnic. Families stroll. A lean and muscular Italian youth shows off his six-pack as he practices his soccer skills. Two pesky terriers stalk three ravens scavenging the grass for food. Beyond the Maritime museum buildings, the muddy Thames winds past O2 Arena and into the city, or away from it, whichever way its currents flow. Me; I sit on the grass in stillness and I write; pausing frequently to look up and witness this English summer activity.
The last four days have been spent catching up with my friend, Viv. We have walked 16 kilometres along the Thames trail. Strolled past Ian McKellen's home and visited his pub. We ate pizza and drank wine at Dickens Inn. Road-tripped down south to visit the very quaint sea-side port of Hamble-le-Rice where we lit a candle, sang Happy Birthday to my mum and ate a deliciously pink cup cake in memory of her. We drove along country roads lined by trees in their heavy green dresses, boughs arched together honouring our arrival. Today Viv has left to complete a course and for the next few days I have empty slates of time to fill any way I choose.
In 3 days, I will catch the bus to Canterbury. In 4 days, my pilgrimage will commence. Although I am here in London following the plans I pre-laid, it feels as if I am dreaming and that it's not really all about to happen. This surreal feeling is not unfamiliar; it has been present every time in those moments and days just before I start living one of my dreams.
I am as physically and mentally prepared as I can be. I have everything I think I need. I have booked the bus to Canterbury. I have organised accommodation for the first few nights so I can ease into my Pilgrim life. Once I leave Dover, I will be winging it; setting each day's walking goals as I go and finding accommodation when I arrive. I have trained my body as much as it is going to be trained to condition it to long distance walking whilst carrying 13 kilos on my back. I have the guide books. I have downloaded my offline maps and traced the trail feeling the enormity of the path ahead.
Now is the time to come inward and centre. Now my spirit takes over whatever is left to prepare. I have returned to those practices that make me feel present and whole. Meditation. Writing my morning pages. Sitting and lying on the earth, breathing her in. Listening to music that inspires and expands my soul.
I am waiting without waiting. Easing into each moment and allowing this current to take me to the beginning of trail and the way that will unfold.
Today's office view from Greenwich Park...
Basking in the sunshine, connecting to the earth....