Day 8: Bruay-la-Buissiere

Number of kilometres today: 23.71

Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 175.14

Total steps since Canterbury:  248,946

Number of dog attacks: 0

Number of times lost: 0

This morning I said good-bye to my new friend Jacques.  However, as he lives very close to Besancon, which is on my way to Rome and he has instructed me to call him when I arrive and simply say, "Jacques, Kym, Gare," and I think he will come and get me.

Today was a shorter walking day. It was meant to be 20 kilometres between Auchy-au-Bois and Bruay-la-Buissiere, however, my accommodation is around 2.5 kilometres outside of town and as I approached Auchel I saw a sign to a supermarket and decided to go and find it to buy some lunch as today is Sunday and most shops are closed.  I gave up and turned around after a few hundred metres without it in sight.  Therein lies another lesson; everything I need will appear along the way. Half an hour later, I walked directly past a Rapid Market where I bought my lunch and thirty minutes after that another small supermarket.

I was walking by 9am this morning and I hope to make this a new habit.  The light is softer, the world a little bit quieter and a bit more beautiful.  It also means I don't feel like I have to rush to make it to my next destination.  Today, I ambled along.  When I arrived in Amettes, the birthplace of Saint Bennedict Joseph Labre,  I took my time to wander through the town stopping in the church of Saint Sulpice that holds the remains of his knee caps and the straw matting he died upon, admire la chapelle Foulon and read about le chemin des morts, the field across which the dead of Ferfay were carried across to Saint Sulpice church back before the French Revolution.

Just before arriving in Auchel, I stopped and sat in the sunshine, taking off my shoes and socks to cool my feet, rest in the sunshine and watch the leaves of the trees shimmer in the late morning sunlight. In Auchel, I found a little woodland where I took off my shoes and socks again to cool my feet down (the best way I have discovered to prevent and stop exacerbating my blisters), and stretched out on the grass in the sun to eat my lunch and catch up on my reading, A Year with Rumi by Coleman Barks.  It included this one for yesterday:

Something opens our wings.

Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.

Someone fills the cup in front of us.

We taste only sacredness.

How true that was for me yesterday.  Grace appearing and giving me wings.  Not a moment I was bored.  Many moments I hurt but finding that I could be with it and carry on.

Here, I am now, in Bruay-la-Buissiere.  My clothes are washed and drying.  I am resting my feet, reflecting on the 175 kilometres I have walked to reach this place and contemplating which path I will take tomorrow and grateful to be here,  

I am also grateful that there are some takeaway food places close by so I don't have to walk far.  I have developed the appetite of a pack horse as I am quickly developing the rump muscles of one too! I'm not sure how sustainable my current food consumption is for my bank account or my waist belt or that the distance I am walking really justifies how much I am eating, especially my daily pain au chocolat, but I am hungry again and have to go and eat.