report silent walk Walk of Wisdom pilgrimage jachtslot mookerheide

Saturday morning, a light drizzle, gray cloud, little light as December is a darker month. Today we will walk the Walk of Wisdom together: the Zevendal, the Mookerhei, Mulderskop and Heumensoord. What a beautiful variety of places there are here. After the drizzle, the fog stays around us all day long as a protection, the rest of the world and daily wrinkles are far away. The fog shows us the bare winter trees as clear silhouettes, and an undefined life hides behind the gray haze. What a strange gift, a chilly December day, offering me protection and wonder.

The forest is bare, and a lot of trees has been felled. More than usual I see the beautiful tall trunks that are still standing and the terrain between the trees, ditches and holes. A border of trees in the middle of a moor. People everywhere have done something with the land, swept away pieces for a railway yard, herded cattle to graze the heathland, planted and felled. A process that always continues, and of which I am a part.

Together we are hiking companions for a day, what do we share? We want to be on the road, experience, be outside in nature. But everyone also has their own story, what does it leave behind? Is one day enough?

Yes, this one day I can step out of the daily routine, get into a new beautiful mist and move on with a rich experience.


Next silent walk Walk of Wisdom pilgrim route: January 8th.

Walk of Wisdom good bye ceremony St Nicolaaskapel

Every first Saturday of the month, just after sunrise, we organise the good bye ceremony the pilgrims’ lauds. In the twilight of the st. Stevens Church in Nijmegen, we walk in silence to a special edition of our first pilgrim book Seasons of Life. There one of us reads out a text from this book. At the beginning of this month it was a text from writer Richard Engelfriet. Ton Reijnders read aloud.

Next pilgrims’ lauds: Januar, December 4 at 8.45 am. Participation is free: more.

From the morning … a lithograph by Ardi Brouwer. It is her first miniature in the series: From the morning, Through the afternoon, To the evening, Into the night. Appeared in Seasons of Life: A Contemporary Pilgrim Book of Hours

Return the other way around!

The most beautiful walk I ever took was the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand. In ‘God’s own country‘, as the New Zealanders like to call their country, you can take this beautiful day hike. You walk right through the film set of The Lord of the Rings. Wild volcanic landscapes, beautiful lava lakes, deep craters and incredible views alternate. You climb almost 2 kilometers, see flowers you didn’t know existed and smell scents you’ve never smelled before.

A beautiful walk, with unfortunately one major drawback: about 5,000 fellow walkers. Buses full of people start the tour from 5 a.m. Where I was only packed with a simple backpack with 6 sandwiches, 4 liters of water and a jar of Nutella, I saw people walking with packs to travel for weeks through the Himalayas. And that wasn’t the only thing: on the way they liked to take a hundred or so photos, immediately tweet them and call home from the most beautiful viewpoint: ‘Yes, it’s me. I can’t hear you really well, it’s quite noisy over here with all the other people’.

It is what it is, but then try enjoying your walk ‘zen- style’. Let alone feel like a pilgrim embarking on a meaningful journey. Fortunately, the solution was very simple: at the end of the walk, all those tourists were picked up by vans. I turned around and walked the same walk again. But now alone.

I can heartily recommend it. Should the Walk of Wisdom crash under its own success, I have some simple advice: just turn around and enjoy the silence.

I wish you a good journey!

Richard Engelfriet
Freelance chairman, author and speaker