St. Cuthbert’s Way Day 2: Beauty and a beast of a day

I took my very first steps along St. Cuthbert’s Way in beautiful sunshine. Everything sparkled in the morning light (Alright, I slept in and didn’t get on the path until 10:00. I would come regret that later. Also that I only had oats for breakfast. But I am getting ahead of myself). I took a took a ton of photographs. I was no more than a few steps onto the Way than I discovered that it goes in only one direction: up. Making my way up to the saddle between two large hills–you would call them mountains if you lived in Hamilton–I stopped often to huff and puff. It was a pattern that would repeat itself all day long. Sadly, I was only an hour or two into my walk when I took a wrong turn (easy to do here since there are so many walking trails!) I said hello to a few sheep and, realizing I was going in the wrong direction, made my way back down a hill, through a gap in a stone wall and along a pathway that miraculously joined up with St. Cuthbert’s Way (SCW). Crisis averted, I rested and had a snack. imageWalking through the woods and into a tiny town (Bowden) was lovely. The sun by now was hot (not my favourite, but I had remembered sunscreen at least). I sipped my water and kept walking. For a while I was by a meandering river and, since my feet had become sore, I stopped and took off my boots. Sitting on a rock with my feet in the water was glorious, even if the water was almost ice-cold! It was just the refreshment I needed. I was getting tired. Late afternoon, I came to a small shop in St. Boswells and bought a bottle of water from a lovely man who gave me a postcard of the area. Then the path travelled onto a golf course and along the Tweed River. I stopped for chocolate. I was happy but wearying. Somewhere around 7:00 I realized I was in trouble. I still had hours to go and I was exhausted. I had all but run out of water. I was  hungry. For the first time, I could feel a blister forming on my right foot. I tried listening to music on my ipod to take my mind off my discomfort. It ran out of batteries. I kept walking (there were no other choices, really). I prayed, “Lord, I’ll lift one foot if you’ll lift the other.” I tucked my map into my backpack pocket (which, incidentally, someone must have been putting rocks in all day. It was much heavier than when I started.) The map fell out of my pocket. O dear. My ankles began to complain about the mud–deep and goopy and up over the top of my boots in spots!) My hip, which I hurt this winter in a fall on the ice, joined the chorus. So did my left knee. A headache capped it off. imageBut here’s the thing: I kept noticing the beauty all around me. Everywhere I went, there were pretty wildflowers: forget-me-nots, bluebells, daffodils, primula. Apple trees are covered in gorgeous blossoms. A spider web glistened with dew drops. The smells were beautiful, too. I took deep breaths of fresh, spring air. In the forest was the earth scent of humus and pine. Huge swaths of wild leeks made everything smell like onions. There was all kinds of incredibly beautiful wildlife as well: swans, ducks, a blue heron, pretty orange and black birds I had never seen before. I saw half a dozen white-tailed rabbits scamper away. Lambs frolicked in the fields as I walked by (yes, they frolicked. Seriously.) It was all of that beauty that kept my spirit content even while I was physically uncomfortable. I watched the sun make its way across the sky and marvelled at what a wonderful world this is. I caught myself asking God out loud, “How did you come up with this many amazing ideas?” And finally, sore and spent, I called ahead to my hotel somewhere around 8:30, to make sure they wouldn’t give away my room. The wonderful owner said he would save me the 3 km trek off the path to Jedburgh and come to pick me up. What a great way to end the day, with the journey made a wee bit easier. Even the people along my route are beautiful. Thanks be to God.

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3 Responses to St. Cuthbert’s Way Day 2: Beauty and a beast of a day

  1. Anne says:

    You are very brave on this amazing journey! Wendall Berry wrote, “…For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free”.

  2. Sandy Wheller says:

    Hi my dear,
    What a beautiful description of all the flowers, blossoms, birds, the sun….and then when you got a ride I cried….how lovely.
    Thanks for sharing…….xoxoxoxo

  3. Anne M. says:

    For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

    Was the inn keeper an angel in disguise? Just maybe.

    Hoping you have a better day tomorrow!

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