The story of the departure ceremony (12): ‘Turn around’

Every first Saturday of the month, a little after sunrise, our departure ceremony is the pilgrim lauds. In the deserted twilight of the Stevens Church in Nijmegen, we walk to a special edition of our first pilgrim book of hours, Seasons of Life. A reader reads one text from this book. At the beginning of this month, it came from writer Richard Engelfriet. Ton Reijnders read aloud. Recording and text below.

Next pilgrims’ lauds: Saturday, December 4 at 8:45 a.m. Participation is free: more.

From the morning … a lithograph by Ardi Brouwer. It is the first miniature in the series: From the Morning, Through the Afternoon, Into the Evening, Into the Night.
Published in Seasons of Life: a contemporary book of hours and pilgrims

Turn around again!

The most beautiful hike I ever did 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 movie set of The Lord of the Rings. Wild volcanic landscape, beautiful lava lakes, deep craters and incredible vistas alternate. You climb up to almost 2 kilometers, see flowers you didn’t know existed and smell scents you have never smelled before.

A beautiful walk, with unfortunately one big drawback: about 5,000 fellow hikers. From 5 a.m., busloads of people start the tour. And where I was only packed with a simple backpack with 6 slices of bread, 4 liters of water and a jar of Nutella, you see people walking with packs to trek through the Himalayas for weeks. And that wasn’t all: along the way they like to take a hundred photos, tweet them immediately on the home front and prefer to call home at 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’.

Well. Then keep enjoying your walk in a ‘zen’ way. Let alone feeling like a pilgrim on a 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 only now.

I can heartily recommend it. If the Walk of Wisdom also succumbs to its own success, I have a simple advice for you: just turn around and enjoy the silence.

I wish you a lot of hiking fun!

Richard Engelfriet
Chairman, author and speaker