Friday, October 04, 2019

Walking On the Path

Ritualized, patterned walking is probably as old as the human race; walking a prescribed path, sometimes with pauses for specific sites or actions, until one reaches the intended goal - a sacred site, a spring, a grove of trees, the center of the labyrinth. They can be large, as in the world's celebrated pilgrimages - the walk to Canterbury, the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, the Via Santiago across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. They can also be smaller, such as the stations of the Cross in a Catholic cathedral, or a labyrinth. In fact, those beautiful labyrinths in the cathedrals of Europe are said to be mini substitutes for the grand pilgrimages. Whether large or small, they are a way to focus the thoughts, to slow the pace, to enable meditation. At the end of these walks one always feels the command from God to Moses on Mount Sinai: "Take off your shoes, you stand on holy ground!"

I've been practicing patterned walking for years now. In Newport it was my habit to walk the trails in Ballard Park, stopping at various overlooks, grand old trees, and boulders, and ending up at the Aspen grove on the floor of the quarry. Here in Shippensburg that walk has been replaced with my walks in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park, walking the trails through the woods and the wetland, and ending up on my favorite bench under the Kentucky Coffee Tree by the north duck pond, where I watch the ducks and contemplate the reflection of the trees and the sky on the surface of the water.

I walked that labyrinth today, a gentle walk ending at the bench and then walking back out the way I came in. Come along with me!

© 2019 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Thank you Roy. This was awesome!

  2. What a grand adventure. Thank you for sharing it with us. I walked around my field and gazed at the colorful fall finery of the maple trees. After such a journey one feels more centered and truly grateful to be alive.