Firstly I thought of my own almost daily walks on the same peninsula, albeit on the other side of the harbour. Clemency and I walk whenever we can for all the usual reasons: for the companionship of a shared activity for an hour or so; for fitness and postponing the inevitable consequences of aging; for the sheer enjoyment of this ancient, weathered, once was volcano; (the photo at the top of this post - and indeed, the one at the top of this blog - was taken on just such a walk). And there is the incidental purpose of preparing ourselves for a return to Spain and the Camino Santiago later in the year.
More significantly, I thought of one of my favourite books: Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
In a famous passage early in the book, for example, she describes a frog being killed by a giant water bug, and moves from there to a reflection on the presence of a loving creator in a seemingly harsh and dangerous world. She quotes from the Koran a passage in the prophet asks whether we think the Creator made the world in jest? Life is in earnest and asks of us disturbing questions. I admire the fact that Dillard offers no glib answers, but lives with the ambiguity of the world around her as it shapes and changes her.
Which is the stance of the Lenten journey, I suppose. Our daily Lenten pilgrimage is an engagement with the world that lies around us at every hand; and in particular it is an engagement with the unavoidable fact of life's harshness. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as the sparks fly upward (Job 5:7) As all pilgrimages reinforce to us, the journey is difficult. Our engagement now is painful and at times uncertain, even as we live in the hope and promise of the coming resurrection.