Toast to life and to the special stage from Grave to Wijchen


Pilgrim Nathalie Koumans literally gets job seekers moving through ‘Walking to Work’. And during the network walks, she also walks parts of the Walk of Wisdom with them. What did they encounter on the sixth stage?  


Text: Nathalie Koumans

A few weeks ago I walked the sixth stage from Grave to Wijchen with a number of job seekers. That resulted in beautiful moments.

“You have a new daughter,” the old man said to my colleague as he walked out of the train. Moments before, I had stood up for him and offered him my seat on the crowded train from Utrecht to Amsterdam. I was on my way home. The end of a special day of hiking was approaching. That day, Anja van Diest and I had supervised the sixth stage of the Walk of Wisdom trajectory for job seekers. It was a special stage, which was marked by meaning, humour, small moments and special encounters.

“The replica of the watch would hang under the bridge,” I hear myself say to the group. It resulted in hilarious moments. Searching for that watch together. While that watch turned out to be hanging somewhere near the bridge. Or that bird of prey that suddenly had to defecate. Just flatsch and then he flew away.


Pure nature

But the meeting with Kees, from the Loonse Schuur, is also still in my memory. At this time of year, the Loonse Schuur is closed for a cup of coffee. However, there is a jar with bird rings. While one of the participants took a few out of the jar, Kees came out. Spontaneously, one of the participants asked if we could get a cup of coffee and before we knew it we were all sitting at a long table and Kees told us about his switch from a real commercial B2B position to running the Loonse Schuur and his home restaurant Eating at Kees. Just pure natural cooking for small groups, that’s what he does now and that’s what he enjoys so much.


Is it you?

Or those poems on the walls in Ravenstein. One of those poems is by Pieter Bokma and it is about how the poet misses his beloved. Is it you, dearest, is it you now? It was a very small poem that touched me.

For a moment, I thought about my own loved ones and what one of those participants had said that day. That thoughts are just thoughts. And with that in mind, the route continued in the direction of Wijchen. Just before Wijchen we stopped for a while to end the year and toast to life. To toast to that special stage from Grave to Wijchen, which was all about meaning and for me all those little moments.

While I was still on the train from Utrecht to Amsterdam, a young man with a cape entered the crowded train: “all those train carriages must have been eaten”. And again there was that smile on my face.

If you would also like to join a network walk from Walking to Work, take a look at the agenda of Walking to Work at the beginning of 2017. And if you’re on Facebook, join the group.


Poem written on the way home from that stage


How dark is the time

when you’re on the train.

How dark is the time

when you see the light coming on through the window.

How dark is the time

If you write Fiezie differently.

How dark is the time

When the time is not dark,

but are only seconds, minutes, and hours in a day.

A friend on his way to the light.

If you are open to it.